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Songs of a Semite: 

The Dance to Death, 







498-500 THIRD AVENUE. 

A- Sl-S^x.'T 

Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1 882, 

in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 



THE DANCE TO DEATH, a Tragedy in Five acts, . ^^% 

The Sew Year , 51 

The Crowing of the Red Cock 52 

In Exile 53 

In Memoriam — Rev. J. J. Lyons . . ... 54 

The Valley of Baca 55 

The Banner of the Jew .... . . 56 

Guardian of the Red Disk . . . . . . 57 


Donna Clara .58 

Don Pedrillo . . . . . 61 

Fra Pedro . ... ... 63 


Solomon ben Judah Gabirol — 

Night Thoughts . . . ... 66 


Meditations . .... 

Hymn . . . . . 

To a Detractor 

A Fragment ... 

Stanzas . . . 

Wine and Grief ..... 

Defiance . . .... 

A Degenerate Age .... 

Judah ben Ha-Levi. 

Love Song • . . .73 

Separation . - ■ ... .73 

Longing for Jerusalem . > . 74 

On the Voyage to Jerusalem. I . . 74 

On the Voyage to Jerusalem, II . , . 75 

To the West Wind, III . . 76 

Moses ben Esra. 

Extracts from the Bookof Tarshish, or the Necklace of Pearls 76 
In the Night . . . ,78 

From the "Divan" .80 

Love Song of Alcharisi ... ... 80 

The Dance to Death; 








498-500 THIRD AVENUE. 

Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1882, 

in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington. 

498-500 THIRD AVE., N. Y. 










Frederick THE Grave — Landgrave of Thuringia and Margrave 
of Meissen, Protector and Patron of the Free City of Nordhausen. 
Prince William OF Meissen— His Son. 
SussKiND VON Orb — A Jew. 
Henry Schnetzen— Governor of Salza. 
Henry Nordmann of Nordmannstein— Knight of Treffurt. 
Reinhard Peppercorn — Prior of Wartburg Monastery. 
Rabbi Jacob. 

Dietrich von Tettenborn— President of the Council. 
Reuben von Orb — aboy, Siisskind's son. 

■ Jews. 

Rabbi Cresselin. 
Lay Brother. 

Public Scrivener. 

Princess Mathildis: Wife to Frederick. 
LiEBHAiD von Orb. 
Claire Cresselin. 

Jews, Jewesses.Burghers, S enators, Flagellants, Servants, Guards- 


Scene:— Partly in Nordhausen, partly in Eisenach. 
Time:— May 4th, 5th, 6th, i349. 


ACT I. — In Nordhausen/ 

Scene I. A Street in the Judengasse, outside the Synagogue. During this scene 
■ Jews and 'Jewesses, singly and in groups, with prayer-books in their hands 

pass across the stage and go into the Synagogue. Among them, enter Baruch 

and Naphtali. 

Naphtau. Hast seen him yet? 

BakuCH. Nay: Rabt)i Jacob's door 

Swung to behind him, just as I puffed up 
O'erblown with haste. See how our years weigh, cousin. 
Who'd judge me with this paunch a temperate man, 
A man of modest means, a man withal 
Scarce overpast his prime.? Weil, God be praised, < 
If age bring no worse burden! Who is this Stranger.' 
Simon the Leech tells me he claims to bear 
Some special message from the Lord— no doubt 
To-morrow, fresh from rest, he'll publish it 
Within the Synagogue 

Naphtali. To-morrow, man.? 

He will not hear ot rest — he comes anon — 
Shall we within.' 

Baruch. Rather let's wait, 

And scrutinize him as he mounts the street. 
Since you denote him so remarkable, 
You've whe;tted my desire. 

Naphtali. A bUnd, old man. 

Mayhap is all you'll find him — spent with travel, 
His raiment fouled with dust, his sandaled feet 
Road-bruised by stone and bramble. But his face! — 
Majestic with long fall of cloud-white beard. 
And hoary wreath of hair — oh, it is one 
Already kissed by angels, 

Baruch. 'Look, there limps 

Little Manasseh, bloated as his purse. 
And wrinkled as a frost-pinched fruit. I hear 
His last loan to the Syndic will result 
In quadrupling his vyealth. Good Lord! what luck 
Blesses some folk, while good men stint and sweat 
And scrape, to merely fill the household larder. 
What said you' of this pilgrim, Naphtali.? 

These inequalities of fortune rub , 

My sense of justice so against the grain, 
' I ose m)' very name. Whence does he come? 
Is he alone? 

Napiitali, He comes from Chinon, France, 

Rabbi Cresseliii he calls himself— alone 
Save for his daughter who has led him hither. 
A beautiful, pale girl with round black eyes. 

Baruch. Bring they fresh tidings of the pestilence? 

NaphtaLI. I know not — but I learn from other source 

It has burst forth at Erfurt. 

Baruch. God have mercy! 

Have many of our tribe been stricken? 

Naphtali. No. 

They cleanFe their homes and keep their bodies sweet, 
Nor cease from prayer — and so does Jacob's God 
Protect His chosen, still. Yet even His favor 
Our enemies would twist into a curse. 
Beholding the destroying angel smite 
The foul idolator and leave unscathed 
The gates of Israel — the old cry they raise — 
We have begotten the Black Death — we poison 
The well-springs of the towns. 

Baruch. God pity us! 
But truly are we blessed in Nordhausen. ' 

Such terrors seem remote as Egypt's plagues. 
I warrant you our Landgrave dare not harry 
Such creditors as we. See, here comes one. 
The greatest and most liberal of them all — 
Slisskind von Orb. 

(SUSSKIND VON Orb, LiEBHAiD and Reuben enter, all pass across tiie stage, and 
■ disappear within the Synagogue.) 

I'd barter m)' whole fortune. 
And yours to boot, that's thrice the bulk of mine, 
For half the bonds he holds in Frederick's name. 
The richest merchant in Thuringia, he — 
The poise of his he^id would tell it, knew we not. 
How has his daughter leaped to womanhood! 
I mind when she came toddling by his hand. 
But yesterday — a flax-haired child — to-day 
Her brow is level with his pompous chin. 

Naphtali. How fair she is! Her hair has kept its gold 

Untarnished still. I'trace not either parent 
In her face, clean cut as a gem. 

Baruch. Her mother 
Was far-off kin to me, and I might pass, 
I'm told, unguessed in Christian garb. I know 
A pretty secret of that scornful lace. 

It lures high game to Nordhausen. 

Naphtali. Raruch, 

I marvel at your prompt credulity. 
The Prince of Meissen and Liebhaid von Orb! 
A jest for gossips and— Look, look, he comes! 

Baruch. Who's that, the Prince? 

Naphtali. Nay, dullard, the old man. 

The Rabbi of Chinon. Ah! his stout staff, 
And that brave creature's strong young hand suffice 
Scarcely to keep erect his tottering frame. 
Emaciate-lipped,with cavernous black eyes 
Whose inward visions do eclipse the day. 
Seems he not one' re-risen from the grave 
To yield the secret.'' ' •- 

(Enter RaBbi Jacob, and Rabbi Cresselin led by Claire. They walk across 
the stage, and disappear in the Synagogue.) 

Bakuch. {Exaltedly.) Blessed art thou, O Lord, 
King of the Universe, who teachest -wisdom 
To those who fear thee!* 

Naphtali. Haste we in. The star 

Of Sabbath dawns. 

Baruch. My flesh is still a-creep 

Frpm the strange gaze of those wide-rolling orbs, 
Didst note, man, how they fixed me.? His lean. cheeks. 
As ^an as wax, were bloodless; now his arms 
Stretched far beyond the flowing sleeve and showed 
Gaunt, palsied wrists, and hands blue-tipped with death! 
Well, I have seen a sage of Israel. 

(They enter the Synagogue. Scene closes.) 
Scene n. The Synagogue crowded with worshipers. Arnong the women in the 
Gallery are discovered .Liebhaid von Orb and Claire CRESSELI^J•. Beloiv, 
among the men. Susskind vox OUB and Reoben. At the Reader's Desk, Rabbi 
Jacob. Fronting the audience under the Ark of the Covenant, stands a high desk, 
behind which is seen the white head of an old man bowed in prayer. Baruch and 
Naphtali enter and take their seats, 

Baruch. Think you he speaks before the service.' 

Naphtali. Yea: 

Lo, phantom-like the towering patriarch! 

" (RABBt Cresselin slowly rises beneath the Ark.) 
. Rabbi Cresselin. Woe unto Israel! woe unto all 

Abiding 'mid strange peoples! Ye shall be 
Cut off from that land where ye made your home. 
I, Cresselin of Chinon, have, traveled far. 
Thence where my fathers dwelt, to warn my race, 
For whom the fire and stake have been prepared. 
Our brethren of Verdun, all over France, 

* These words are the customary formula of Jewish prayer on seeing a wise man 
of Isi ael. 

Are burned alive beneath the Goyini s torch. 

What terrors have I witnessed, ere my sight 

Was mercifully quenched! In Gascony, 

In Savoy, Piedmont, round the garden shores 

Of tranquil Leman, down the beautiful Rhine, 

At Lindau, Costnitz, Schafthausen, St. Gallen, 

Everywhere torture, smoking Synagogues, 

Carnage and burning flesh. The lights shine out 

Of Jewish virtue, Jewish truth, to star 

The sanguine field with an immortal blazon, 

The venerable Mar-Isaac in Cologne, 

Sat in his house at prayer, nor lifted lid 

From off the sacred text, while all around 

The fanatics ran riot; him they seized 

Haled through the streets, with prod of stick and spike 

Fretted his wrinkled flesh, plucked his white beard, 

Dragged him with gibes into their Church, and held 

A Crucifix before h"m. ''Know thy Lord!" 

He spat thereon; he was pulled limb from limb. 

I saw— God, that I might forget! —a man 

Leap in the Loire, with his fair, stalwart son, 

A-bloom with youth, and midst the stream unsheathe 

A poniard, -sheathing it in his boy's heart. 

While he pronounced the blessing for the dead. 

" Amen!" the lad responded as he sank. 

And the white water darkened as with wine. , 

I saw — but no! You are glutted, and my tongue 

Blistered, refuseth to narrate more woe. 

I have known much sorrow. When it pleased the Lord 

To afflict us with the horde of Pastoureaux, 

The rabble of armed herdsmen, peasants, slaves, 

Men-beasts of burden— coarse as the earth they tilled, 

Who like an inundation deluged France 

To drown our race — my heart held firm, my faith 

Shook not upon her rock until I saw 

Smit by God's beam, the big, black cloud dissolve. 

Then followed with their scythes, spades, clubs and banners 

Flaunting the Cross, the hosts of Armleder, 

From whose fierce wounds we scarce are healed to-day. 

Yet do I say the cup of bitterness 

That Israel has drained is but a draught 

Of cordial, to the cup that is prepared. 

The Black Death and the Brothers ot the Cross, 

These are our foes— and these are everywhere. 

I who am blind, see ruin in their wake, 

Ye who have eyes and limbs, arise and flee! 

To-morrow the Flagellants will be here. 

God's angel visited my sleep and spake. 

" Thy Jewish kin in the Thuringian town 

Of Noidhausen, shall be swept off from earth, 

Their elders and their babes -consumed with fire. 

Go, summon Israel to flight — take this 

As sign that I, who call thee, am the Lord, 

Thine eyes shalt be struck blind tilj thou hast spoken." 

Then darkness fell upon my mortal sense, 

But light broke o'er my soul, and all was clear. 

And I have Journeyed hither with my child 

O'er mount and river, till 1 have announced 

The message of the Everlasting God. 

(Sensation in the Synagogue.) 

Rabbi Jacob. Father, have mercy! when wilt thou have done 
With rod and scourge.? Beneath thy children's feet 
Earth splits, fire spHngs. No rest, ho rest, no rest! 

A Voice. Look to the women! Mariamne swoons T 

Another Voice. Woe unto us who sinned! 

Another Vojce. We're all dead men. 

Fly, fly ere dawn as our forefathers fled 
From out the land of Egypt. 

Baruch. Are ye mad? 

Shall we desert snug homes.? forego the sum 
Scraped through laborious years to smooth^ife's slope. 
And die like dogs unkenneled and .untombed. 
At bidding of a sorrow-crazed old man.? 

A VoiCh,. He flouts the Lord's anointed! Cast him forth! 

SUSSKIND VON'Orb. Peace, brethren, peace! If I have ever served 
Israel with purse, :arm, brain or heart— now hear me! 
May God instruct my speech! This wise old man. 
Whose brow flames with the majesty of truth, 
May be part-blinded through Excess of light. 
As one who eyes, too long the naked sun. 
Setting in rayless glory, turns and finds 
Outlines confused, familiar colors changed. 
All objects branded with one blood-brigh't spot. 
Nor chafe at Baruch's homely sense; truth floats 
Midway between the stars and the abyss. 
We, by God's grace, hat^e found a special nest 
r the dangerous rock, screened against wind and hawk; 
Free burghers of a free town, blessed moreover 
With the peculiar favor of the Prince, 
Frederick the Grave, our patron and protector. 
What shall we fear.? Rather, where shall we seek 
Secure asylum, if here be not one? 
Fly.? Our forefathers had the wilderness. 
The sea their gateway, and the fire-cored cloud 
Their divine guide. Us, hedged by ambushed foes, 
No frank, free, kindly desert shall receive. 

Death crouches on all sides, prepared to leap 
Tiger-like on our throats, when first we step 
From this safe covert. Everywhere the Plague! 
As nigh as Erfurt it has crawled— the towns 
Reek with miasma, theraiik fields of spring, 
Rain-saturated, are one beautiful — he, 
Smiling profuse Hfe, and secreting death. 
Strange how, unbidden, a trivial memory- 
Thrusts itself on my mind in this grave hour, 
I saw a large white bull urged through the town 
To slaughter, by a stripling with a goad, 
Whom but one sure stamp of that solid heel, 
One toss of those mooned horns, one battering blow 
Of that square marble foreheid, would have crushed, 
As we might crush a worm, yet on he trudged, 
Patient, in pow.erful health to death. At once. 
As though o' the sudden stung, he roared aloud, 
Beat with fierce hoofs the air, shook desperately 
His formidable head, and heifer-swift. 

Raced through scared, screaming .streets. Well, and the end.? 
He was the promptlier bound and killed and quartered. 
The world belongs to man; dreams the poor brute 
Some nook has been apportioned for brute life.'' 
Where snail a man escape men's cruelty.? 
Where shall God's servant cower from his doom.? 
Let us bide, brethren — we are in His hand. 

Rabbi CresSELIN. {Uttering a piercing shriek.) Ah! 
Woe unto Israel! Lo, I see again. 
As the Ineffable foretold. I see 
A flood of fire that streams towards the town. 
Look, the destroying Angel with the sword, 
Wherefrom the drops of gall are raining down. 
Broad-winged, comes flying towards you. Now he draws 
His lightning-glittering blade! With the keen edge 
He smiteth Israel — ah! 

(He falls back dead. Contusion in the Synagogue.) 

Claire. {From the Gallery.) Father! My father! , 
Letmegodown to him! 

LiebhaiD Sweet girl, be patient. 
This is the House of God, and He hath entered. 
Bow we and pray. 

Meanwhile, some of the men surround and raise from the ground the body of 
Rabbi Cresselin. Several voices speaking at once. 

1ST Voice. He's doomed. 

2D Voice. Dead! Dead! 

3D Voice. A judgment! 

,4TH Voice. Make way there! Air! Carry him forth! He|s wa-m! 

3D Voice. Nay, his heart's stopped — his breath has ceased — quite 


STH Voice. Didst mark a diamond lance flash from the roof? 
And strike him 'twixt the eyes? 

1ST Voice. Our days are numbered. 

, This is ,the token. • 

Rabbi Jacob. Lift the corpse and pray. 

Shkll we neglect God's, due observances, 
While He is manifest in miracle? 
I saw a blaze seven times more bright than fire, 
Crest, halo-wise, the patriarch's white head. 
The dazzle stung my burning lids — they closed, 
One instant — when they oped, the great blank cloud 
Had settled on his countenance forever. ^. - 

* Departed'brother, mayest thou find the gates 
Of. heaven open, see the city of peace, 
And meet the ministering angels, glad. 
Hastening towards thee! May the High Priest stand 
To greet and bless thee! Go thou to the end! 
Repose in peace and rise again to life. 
No more thy sun sets, neither wanes thy moon. 
The Lord shall be thy everlasting light; 
Thy days of mourning shall be at an end. 
For you, my flock, fear nothing; it is ivrit 
As one hi? mother comforteth, so I 
Will comfort you and in Jerusalem 
, Ye shall be comforted. Scene closes. 

Scene III. Evening A crooked byway in the Judengasse. Enter PRINCE 

PjilNCE W. Cursed be these twisted lanes! I have missed the clue 
Of the close labyrinth. Nowhere in sight, 
Just when I lack it, a stray gaberdine 
To pick me up my thread. Yet when I haste 
Through these blind streets, unwishful to be spied, 
Some dozen hawk-eyes peering o'er crook'd beaks 
Leer recognition, and obsequious Caps ' 

Do kiss the stones to greet my princeship. Bah! 
Strange, midst such refuse sleeps so v/hite a pearl. 
At last, here shuffles one. {Enter a Jew.) 
Give you good even! 
Sir, can you help me to the nighest way ^ 

Unto the merchant's house, Siisskind von Orb? 

Jew. Whence come you knowing not the high brick wall, 
Without, blank as my palm, o' the inner side. 
Muring a palace? But — do you wish him well? 
He is my friend — we be wary, wary, 
We all have warning — Oh, the terror of it! 

* From this point to the end of the scene is a literal translation of the Hebrew- 
burial service. 

-I have not ytt my wits! 

Prince W. I am his friend. 

Is he in peril? What's the matter, man? 

Jew. Peril.' His peril is no worse than /nine, 

But the rich win compassion. God is just, 
And every man of us is doomed. Alack! 
He said it — oh those wild, white eyes! 

Prince W. I pray you, 

Tell me the way to Susskind's home. 

Jew. Sweet master, 

You look the perfect knight, what can you crave 
Of us starved, wretched Jews.? Leave us in peace. 
The Judengasse gates will shut anon. 
Nor ope till morn again for Jew or Gentile. 

Prince W. Here's gold. I am the Prince of Meissen — spsak! 

Jew. Oh pardon! Let me kiss your mantle's edge. 
This way, great sir, I lead you there myself. 
If yo'J deign follow one so poor, so humble. 
You must show mercy in the name of God, 
For verily are we afflicted. Come. 
Hard by is Siisskind's dwelling— as- we walk 
By your good leave I'll tell what I have seen. 


Scene IV. A luxuriously-furnished apartment in Siisskind von Orb's house. Upon a 
richly-spread supper table stalids the se^'en-branched silver candlestick of the Sab- 
bath eve. Atthetable are seated Susskinr von Orb, Liebhaid and Reuben. 

Susskind. Drink, children, drink! and lift your hearts to Him 
Who gives us the vine's fruit. ( They drink.) 

How clear it glows; 
Like gold within the golden boul, like fire 
Along our veins, after the work-day week 
Rekindling Sabbath-fervor, Sabbath-strength. 
Verily God prepares for me a table 
In presence of mme enemies! ' He anoints 
My head with oil, my cup is overflowing. 
Praise we His name! Hast thou, my daughter, served 
The needs o' the poor, suddenly-orphaned child.' 
Naught must she lack beneath my roof 

Liebhaid. Yea, father. 

She prays and weeps within: she had no heart 
For Sabbath meal, but charged me with her thanks — 

Susskind. Thou shalt be mother and sister in one to her. 
Speak to her comfortably. 

Rgubkn. She has begged 

A grace of me I happily can grant. 
After our evening-prayer," to lead her back 
Unto the synagogue, where sleeps her father, 
A light at head and foot, o'erwatched by strangers; 

She would hold vigil. 

,SUSSKIND. 'Tis a pious wish, 

Not to be crossed, befitting Israel's daughter. 
Go, Reuben; heavily the moments hang. 
While her heart yearns to break beside his corpse. 
Receive my blessing. [^He places his hands upon his son's headih. 
benediction. Exit Reuben?^ 

Henceforth her home is hefe. 
In the event to-night, God's finger points 
Visibly out of heaven. A thick cloud 
Befogs the future. But just here is light 

(Enter a servant ushering in Prince William.) 

Servant. His highness' Prince of Meissen. {Exit.) 

SUSSKIND Welcome, Prince! 

God bless thy going forth and coming in! 
Sit at our table and accept the cup 
Of welcome which my daughter fills. . 

(Liebhaid offers him wine.) 

Prince W. {drinking.') To thee! {All take their seats at the table. 
I heard disquieting news as I came hither. 
The apparition in the Synagogue, 
The miracle of the message and the death. 
Siisskind von Orb, what think'st thou of these things.? 

SUSSKIND. 1 think, sir, we are in the hand of God, 
I trust the Prince — your father and my friend. 

Prince W. Trust no man! flee! I have not come to-night 
To little purpose. Your arch enemy 
The Governor of Salza, Henry Schnetzen, 
Has won my father's ear. Since yestereve 
He stops at Eisenach, begging of the Prince 
The Jews'destruction. 

SUSSKIND. {calmly.) Schnetzen is my foe, 
I know? it, but I know a talisman. 
Which at a word transmutes his hate to love. 
Liebhaid, my child, look cheerly. What is this.? 
Harm dare not touch thee; the oppressor's curse, 
Melts into blessing at thy sight. 

Liebhaid. Not f&r 

Plucks at my heart-strings, father, though the air 
Thickens with portents; 'tis the thought.of flight,' 
But no — I follow thee. 

Prince W. Thou shalt not miss 

The value of a hair from thy home-treasures. 
All that thou lovest, Liebhaiid, goes with thee, 
Knowest thou, Siisskind, Schnetzen's cause of hate.? 

SusSKlND. Tis rooted in an'ancient error, born 
During his feud with Landgrave Fritz the Bitten, 
Your Highness' grandsire — ten years — twenty — back. 


Misled to think I had betrayed his castle, 

Who knew the secret tunnel to its courts, 

He has nursed a baseless grudge, whereat I smile. 

Sure to disarm him by the simple truth. 

God grant me strength to utter it. 

Prince W. You fancy 

The rancor of a bad heart slow distilled 
Through venomed years, so at a breath, dissolves. 
O good old man, i' the world, not of the world! 
Belike, himself forgets the doubtful core , 
Of this still-curdling, petrifying ooze. 
Truth.'' why truth glances from the callous mass, 
A spear against a rock. He hugs his hate. 
His bed-fellow, his daily, life-long comrade; 
Think you he has slept, ate, drank with it this while. 
Now to forego revenge on such slight cause 
As the revealed truth? 

SUSSKIND. You mistake my thought. 

Great-hearted Prince, and justly — for I speak 
In riddles, till God's time to make all, clear. 
When His day dawns, the blind shall see. 

Prince W. Forgive me. 

If I, in wit and virtue your disciple. 
Seem to instruct my master. Accident 
Lifts me where I survey a broader field. 
Than wise men stationed lower. I spy peril. 
Fierce flame invisible from the lesser peaks. 
God's time is now. Delayed truth leaves a lie 
Triumphant. If you harbor any secret, 
Potent to force an ear that's locked to mercy. 
In God's name, now disbosom it. 

SUSSKIND. Kind heaven! 

Would that my people's safety were assured 
So is my child's! ^A^here shall we' turn.' Where flee.-' 
For all around us the Black Angel broods. 
We step into the open jaws of death 
If we go hence. 

Prince W. Better to fall beneath 

The hand of God, than be cut off by man. 

SUSSKIND. We are trapped^ the springe is set. Not ignorantly 
I offered counsel in the synagogue, 
Quelled panic with authoritative calm, 
But knowing, having weighed the opposing risks. 
Our friends in Strasburg have been overmastered. 
The imperial voice is drowned, the papal arm 
Drops paralyzed — both, lifted for the- truth; 
We can but front with brave eyes, brow erect, 
As is our wont, the fulness of our doom. 


Prince W. Then Meissen's sword champions your desperate cause. 
I take my stand here where my heart is fixed. 
I love your daughter — if her love consent, 
I pray you, give me her to wife. 


SUSSKIND. Prince, 

Let not this Saxon skin, this hair's gold fleece, 
These Rhine-blue eyes mislead thee — she is alien. 
To the heart's core a Jewess — prop of my house. 
Soul of my soul — and I.' a despised Jew. 

Prince W. Thy propped house crumblesj let my arm sustam 
Its tottering base— thy light is on the vyane 
Let me re-lume it. Give thy star to me, 
Or ever pitch-black night engulf us all — 
Lend me your voice, Liebhaid, entreat for me. 
Shall this prayer be your first that he denies.' 

LlEBHAID. Father, my heart's desire is one with his. 

SUSSKIND. Is this the will of God.? Amen! My children. 
Be patient with me, I a"m full of trouble. 
For you, "heroic Prince, could aught enhance 
Your love's incomparable nobility, 
'Twere the foreboding horror of this hour, 
Wherem you dare flash forth its lightning-sword. 
You reckon not, in the hot, splendid moment 
Of great resolve, the cold insidious breath 
Wherewith the outer world shall_ blast and freeze — 
But hark! I own a mystic amulet, 
Which you deHvering to your gracious father. 
Shall calm his rage withal, and change his scorn 
Of the Jew's daughter, into pure affection. 
Iwill go fetch it — though I drain my heart 
Of its red blood, to yield this sacrifice. 

(Exit Susski.nd.) 

Prince W. Have you no smile to welcome love with, Liebhaid.!" 
Why should you tremble.?, '^ 

LlEBHAID. Prince, I am afraid! 

Afraid of my own heart, my unfathomed joy, 
A blasphemy against my father's grief. 
My people.'s agony. I dare be happy — 
So happy! in the instant's lull betwixt 
The dazzle and the crash of doom. 

Prince W. You read 

The omen falsely; rather is your joy 
The thrilling harbinger of general dawn. 
Did you not tell me scarce a month agone. 
When I chanced in on you at feast sLnd prayer, 


The holy time's bright legend? of the, queen, 

Strong, beautiful, resolute, who denied her race 

To save her race, who cast upon the die 

Of her divine and simple: loveliness. 

Her life, her soul, — and so redeemed her tribe. 

You are my Esther — but I, no second tyrant. 

Worship whom )'ou adore, love whom you love! 

LlEBHAID. If I must die with morn, I thank my God. 
And thee, my king, that I have lived this night. 

(Enter Silsskind carrying a jeweled casket.) 

SUSSKIND. Here is the chest, sealed with my signet-ring^ 
A mystery and a treasure lies within, 
Whose worth is faintly symboled by these gems, 
Starring the case. Deliver it unopened, 
Unto the Landgrave. Now, sweet Prince, goodnight.' 
Else will the Judengasse gates be closed. 

PSiNCE W. Thanks, father, thanks. Liebhaid, my 
bride, goodnight. 

(He kisses her brow. Siisskind places his hands on the heads of Liebhaid and 
Prince William.) 

SUSSKIND. Blessed, Oh Lord, art thou, who bringest joy 
To bride and bridegroom. Let us thank the Lord. 

(Curtain falls.) 


ACT II.— At Eisenach. 
Scene I. A Room in the Landgrave's Palace. Frederick the Grave and Henry 


Landgrave. Who tells thee of my son's love for the Jewess.'' 

ScnNETZEN. Who tells me.? Ask the Judengasse walls, 
The garrulous stones publish Prince William's visits 
To his fair mistress. 

Landgrave. Mistress.' ah, such sins 
The Provost of St. George's will remit 
For half a pound of coppers. 

Schnetzen. Think it not! 
No light amour this, leaving shield unflecked; 
He woos the Jewish damsel as a knight 
The lady of his heart. 

Landgrave. Impossible! 

Schnetzen. Things more impossible have chanced. Remember 
Count Gleichen. doubly wived, who pined in Egypt, 
There wed the Pasha's daughter Malachsala, 
Nor bliished to bring his heathen paramour 

Home to his noble wife Angelica, 
Countess of Orlamund. Yea, and the Pope 
Sanctioned the filthy sin. 

Landgrave. Himself shall say it. 
Ho, Gunther! {Enter a lackey.) Bid the Prince of Meissen here. 

(Exit Lackey. The Landgrave paces the stage in agitation. Enter Prince Wil- 

Prince W. Father, you called me.? 

Landgrave. Ay, when were you last 

In Nordhausen.-" 

Phince W. This morning I rode hence. 

Landgrave. Were you at Siisskind's house.? 

Prince W. I was, my liege. 

Landgrave. I hear you entertain unseemly love 
For the Jew's daughter. 

Prince W. Who has told thee this.' 

SCHNETZEN. This I have told him. 

Prince W. Father, believe him not. 
I swear by heaven 'tis no unseemly love 
Leads me to Siisskind's house. 

Landgrave. With what high title 

Please you to qualify it? ' 

Prince W. True, I love 

Liebhaid von Orb, but 'tis the honest passion 
Wherewith a knight leads home his equal wife, 

Landgrave. Great God! and thou, wilt brag thy shame! Thou 
Of wife and Jewess in one breath! Wilt make 
Thy princely name a stench in German nostrils.? 

Prince W. Hold, father, hold! You know her — yes, a Jewess 
In her domestic piety, her soul 

Large, simple, splendid, like a star, her heart ^ 

Suffused with Syrian sunshine — but no more — 
The aspect of a Princess of Thuringia, 
Swan-necked, gold-haired. Madonna-eyed. I love her! 
If you will quench this passion, take my life! 

(He falls at his father's feet.- Frederick, in a paroxysm of rage, seizes his sword.) 

Schnetzen. He is your son! 

Landgrave. Oh that he ne'er were born! 

Hola! Halberdiers! Yeomen of the Guard! 

{Enter Guardsmen.) Bear off this prisoner! Let him sigh out 
His blasphemous folly in the castle tower. 
Until his hair be snow, his fingers claws. 

They seize and bear away Prince William, 
Well, what's your counsel.? 

Schnetzen. Briefly this, my lord. 

The Jews of Nordhausen have brewed the Prince 


A love-elixir — let them perish all! 

(Tumult without. Singing of Hynrhs and Ringing of Church-bells. The Landgrave 
and Schnetzen go to the window.) 

*Song (witnout.) 
The cruel pestilence arrives. 
Cuts off a myriad human lives. 
See the flagellants' naked skin ! 
They 'scourge themselves for grievous sm. 
Trembles the earth beneath God's breath. 
The yews shall all be burned to death. 
Landgrave. Look, foreign pilgrims! Whatan endless file! 
Naked waist'lipward. Blood is trickling down 
Their lacerated flesh. What do they carry.? 

Schnetzen. Their scourges — iron-pointed, leathern thongs. 
Mark how they lash themselves— the strict Flagellants. 
The Brothers of the Cross— hark tO' their cries! 

Voice from below. Atone, ye mighty! God is wroth! Expel 
The enemies of heaven — raze their homes! : 

(Confused cries fiom below which gradually die away in the distance ) 

Woe to God's enemies! Death to the Jews! 
They poison all our well.s — they bring the plague. 
Kill them who killed our Lord! Their homes shall be 
A wilderness— drown them in their ovvn blood! 

(The Landgrave and Schnetzen withdraw from the window.) 

Schnetzen. Do not the people ask the same as L'' 
Is not the people's voice the voice of God? 

Landgrave. I will consider. 

Schnetzen. Not too long, my Uege. 

The moment favors. Later 'twere hard to show 
Due cause to his Imperial Majesty, 
For slaughtering the vassals of the Crown. 
Two mighty friends are theirs. His holiness 
Clement the Sixth and Kaiser Karl. 

Landgrave. 'Twere rash 

Contending with such odds. 

Schnetzen. Courage, my lord. 

These battle singly against death and fate. 
Your allie"; are the sense and heart o' the world. 
Priests war-ing for their Christ, nobles for gold, 
And pecvples for the very breath of life 
Spoiled by the poison-mixers. Kaiser Karl 
Lifts his' lone voice unheard, athwart the roar 
Of such a flood; the papal bull is whirled 
An unconsidered rag amidst the eddies. 
, , Landgrave. What credence lend you to the general rumor 

* A Rhyme of the Times, See Graetz' History of the Jews, Page 374, Vol. T. 


Of the river poison? 

SCHNETZEN. Such as mine eyes avouch. 

I have seen, yea touched the leathern wallet found 
On the body of one from whom the truth was wrenched 
By salutary torture. He confessed, 
Though but a famulus of the master-wizard, 
The horrible old Moses of Mayence, 
He had flung such pouches in the Rhine, the Elbe, 
The Oder, Danube,— in a hundred brooks, 
Until the wholesome air reeked pestilence; , 
' Twas an ell long, filled with a dry', fine dust 
Of rusty black and red, deftly compounded 
Of powdered flesh of basilisks, spiders., frogs, > 
And lizards, baked with sacramental dough 
In Christian blood. 

Landgrave. Such goblin-tales may curdle 

The veins of priest-rid women, fools and children. 
They are not for the ears'of sober men. 

SCHNETZEN. Pardon me. Sire. I am a simple soldier. 
My God, my conscience, and my suzerain. 
These are my guides — blindfold I follow them. 
If your keen royal wit pierce the gross web 
Of common superstition — ^^be not wroth 
At your poor vassal's loyal ignorance. 
Remember, too, Siisskind retains your bonds. 
The old fox will not press you;, he would bleed 
Against the native instinct of the Jew, 
Rather his last gold doit, and so possess 
Your ease of mind, nag, chafe and toy with it; 
Abide his natural death, and other Jews 
Less devilish-cunning, franklier Hebrew-viced, 
Will claim redemption of your pled^.;e. 

Landgrave, How know you 

That Siisskind holds my bonds.? 

SCHNETZEN. You think the Jews 
Keep such things secret.? Not a Jew but knows 
Your debt exact — the sum and date of interest 
And that you visit Siisskind, not for love, 
But for his shekels. 

Landgrave. Well, the Jews shall die. 

This is the will of God. Whom shall I send 
To bear my message to the council.-' 

Am ever at your 'hest. I'o-morrow morn 
Sees me in Nordhausen. 

Landgrave. Come two hours hence. 

I will deliver you the letter signed. 
Make ready for your ride. 


SCHNETZEN. {kisses Frederick' s hand) Farewell, my master. 
(aside.) Ah vengeance cometh late, Siisskind von Orb, 
But yet it comes! My wife was burned through thee, 
Thou and thy children are consumed by me! 


Scene II. A Room in the Wartburg Monastery. Princess , Mathildis and Prior 

Prior. Be comforted, my daughter. Your lord's wisdom 
Goes hand in hand with his known piety 
Thus dealing with your son. To love a Jewess 
Is flat conteinpt of heaven— to ask in marriage, 
Sheer spiritual suicide. Let be; 
Justice must take its course. 

Princess. Justice is murdered; 

Oh slander not her corpse. For my son's fault, 
A thousand innocents are doomed. Is that 
God's justice.' 

Prior. Yea, our liege is but His servant. 

Did not He purge with fiery hail those twain 
Blotches of festering sin, Gomorrah, Sodom.? 
The Jews are never innocent, — when Christ 
Agonized on the Cross, they cried—-" His blood 
Be on our children's heads and ours!" I mirk 
A dangerous growing evil of these days, 
Pity, misnamed — say, criminal indulgence 
Of reprobates brow-branded by the Lord. 
Shall we excel the Christ in charity.' 
Because His law is love, we tutor him 
In mercy and reward his murderers.' 
Justice is blind and virtue is austere. 
If the true passion brimmed our yearning hearts 
The vision of the agony would loom* 
Fixed vividly between the day and us; — 
Nailed on the gaunt black Cross the divine form, 
Wax-white and dripping blood from ankles, wrists, 
The sacred ichor that redeems the world. 
And crowded in strange shadow of eclipse. 
Reviling Jews, waggihg their heads accursed. 
Sputtering blasphemy — who then would shrink 
From holy vengeance.' who would offer less 
Heroic wrath and filial zeal to God 
Than to a murdered father.' 

Princess. But my son 

Will die with her he loves. 

Prior. Better to perish 

In time than in eternity. No question 
Pends here of individual life; our sight 

Must broaden to embrace the scope sublime 

Of this trans-earthly theme: The Jew survives 

Sword, plague, fire, cataclysm-^and must, since Christ 

Cursed him to live till doomsday, still to be 

A scarecrow to the nations. None the less 

Are we beholden in Christ's name at whiles, 

When maggot-wise Jews breed, infest, infect 

Communities of Christians, to wash clean 

The Church's vesture, shaking off the filth 

That gathers round her skirts. A perilous germ! 

Know you not, all the wells, the very air 

The Jews have poisoned? — Through their arts alone 

The Black Death scourges Christendom'. 

Princess. I know 

All heinousness imputed by their foes. 
Father, mistake me not: I urge no plea 
To shield this hell-spawn, loathed by all who love 
The lamb and kiss the Cross, I had not guessed 
Such obscure creatures crawled upon my path, 
Had not my son— I know not how misled 
Deigned to ennoble with his great regard, 
A sparkle midst the dust motes. She is sacred. 
What is her tribe to me.? Her kith and kin 
May rot or roast— the Jews of. Nordhausen 
May hang, drown, perish like the Jews of France, 
But she shall live — Liebhaid von Orb, the Jewess, 
The Prince, my son, elects to love. 

Prior. Amen! 

Washed in baptismal waters she shall be 
Led like the clein-fleeced -yeanling to the fold. 
Trust me, my daughter — for through me the Church 
Which is the truth, which is the life, doth speak. 
Yet first 'twere best essay to cure the Prince 
Of his moon-fostered madness, bred, no doubt. 
By baneful potions which these cunning knaves 
Are skilled to mix. 

Princess. Go visit him, dear father, 

Where in the high tower mewed, a. wing-clipped eagle, 
His spirit breaks in cage. You are his master, 
He is wont from childhood to hear wisdom fall 
From your instructed lips. Tell him his mother 
Rises not from her knees, till he is freed. 

Prior. Madam, I go. Our holy Church has healed 
Far deadlier heart-wounds than a love-sick boy's. 
> Be of good cheer, the Prince shall live to bless 
The father's rigor who kept pure of blot 
A 'scutcheon more unsullied than the sun. 

Princess. Thanks and farewell. 


Prior. Farewell. God send thee peace! 

(Exeunt.) ' 

Scene III. A mean apartment in one of the Towers of the Landgrave's Palace. 
Prince William discovered seated at the window. 

Prince W. The slow sun sets; with lingering, large embrace 
He folds the enchanted hill: then like a god 
Strides into heaven behind the purple peak. 
Oh beautiful! In the clear, rayless air, 
I see the chequered vale mapped far below, 
The sky-paved streams, the velvet pasture slopes, 
The grim, gray cloister whose deep vesper bell 
Blends at this height with tinkling, homebound herds! 
I see — but oh, how far! — the blessed town 
Where Liebhaid dwells. Oh that I were yon star 
That pricks the West's unbroken foil of gold, 
Bright as an eye, only to gaze on her! 
.How keen it sparkles o'er the Venusburg! 
When brown night falls and mists begin to live. 
Then will the phantom hunting-train emerge. 
Hounds straining, black fire-eyeballed, breathless steeds, 
Spurred by wild huntsmen, and unliallowed nymphs, 
And at their head the foam-begotten witch. 
Of soul-destroying beauty. Saints of heaven! 
Preserve mine eyes from such unholy sight! 
How all unlike the base desire which leads 
Misguided men to that infernal cave, 
Is the pure passion that exalts my soul 
Like a religion! Yet Christ pardon me, 
If this be sin to thee! 

(He takes his lute, and begins to sing. Enter with a lamp Steward of the Castle,.' 
followed by Prior Peppercorn. Steward lays down the lamp and exit.) 

Good even, father! 

Prior. Benedicite! 

Our biid makes merry his dull bars with song, 
Yet would not penitential psalms accord 
More fitly with your sin than minstrels' lays.? 

Prince W. I know no blot upon my life's fair record. 

Prior. What is it to wanton with a Christ-cursed Jewess, 
Defy thy father and pollute thy name. 
And fling to the ordures thine immortal soul.? 

Prince W. Forbear! thy cowl's a helmet, thy serge frock 
Invulnerable as brass— yet I am human. 
Thou, priest, art still a man. 

Prior. Pity him, heaven! 

To what a pass their draughts have brought the mildest, 
Noblest of princes! Softly, my son; be ruled 
By me, thy spiritual friend and father. 



Thou hast been drugged with sense-deranging potions, 
Thy blood- set boiling and thy brain askew; 
When these thick fumes subside, thou shalt awake 
To bless the friend who gave thy madness bounds. 

Prince W. Madness! Yea, is the sane world goes, I am mad. 
What else to help the helpless, to uplift 
The low, to adore the good, the beautiful, 
To live, battle, suffer", die for truth, for love! 
But that is wide of the question. Let me hear 
What you are charged to impart — vay father's will. 

Prior. Heart-cleft by his dear offspring's shame, he prays 
Your reason be restored, your wayward sense 
Renew its due allegiance. For his son 
He, the good parent weeps— hot drops of gall, 
Wrung from a spirit seldom eased by tears. 
But for his honor pricked, the Landgrave takes 
Most just and general vengeance. ' 

Prince W. In the name of God, 

■What has he done to her} 

Prior. Naught, naught, — as yet. 

Sweet Prince, be calm; you leap like flax to flame. 
You nest within your heart a cockatrice. 
Pluck it from out your bosom and breathe pure 
Of the filthy egg. The Landgrave brooks no more 
The abomination that infects his town. 
The Jews of Nordhausen are doomed. 

Prince W. Alack! 

Who and how many of that harmless tribe. 
Those meek and pious men have been elected 
To glut with innocent blood the oppressor's wrath.' 

Prior. Who should go free where equal guilt is shared.? 
Frederick is just — they perish all at once. 
Generous moreover — for in their mode of death 
He grants them choice. 

Prince W. My father had not lost 

The human semblance when I saw him last. 
Nor can he be divorced in this short space 
From his shrewd wit. How shall he make provision 
For the vast widowed, orphaned host this deed 
Burdens the state withal.' 

Prior. Oh excellent! 

This is the crown of folly, topping all! 
Forgive me, Prince, when I gain breath to point 
Your comic blunder, you will laugh with me. 
Patience— I'll draw my chin as long as yours. 
Well, 'twas my fault— one should be accurate — 
Jews, said V. when I meant Jews, Jewesses, 
And Jewlings! all betwixt the age 


Of twenty-four hours, and of five score years. 

Of either sex, of every known degree, 

All the contaminating vermin purged 

With one clean, searching blast of wholesome fire. 

Prince W. Oh Christ, disgraced, insulted! Horrible man, 
Remembered be your laugh in lowest hell. 
Dragging you to the nether pit! Forgive me; 
You are my friend — take me from here —unbolt 
Those iron doors — I'll crawl upon my knees • 
Unto my father — I have much to tell him. 
For but the freedom of one hour, sweet Prior, 
I'll brim the vessels of the Church' with gold. 

Prior. Boy! your bribes touch not, nor your curses shake 
The minister of Christ. Yet I will bear 
Your message to the Landgrave. 

Prince W. Whet your tongue 

Keen as the archangel's blade of truth— your voice 
Be as God's thunder, and your heart one blaze — 
Then can you speak my cause. With me, it needs 
No plausive gift; the smitten head, stopped throat 
Blind eyes and silent suppliande of sorrow 
Persuade beyond all eloquence. Great God! 
Here while I rage and beat against my bars, 
The infernal fagots may be stacked for her. 
The hell-spark kindled. Go to him, dear Prior, 
Speak to him gently, be not too much moved, 
'Neath its rude had ever a soft heart, 
And he is stirred by mildness more than passion. 
Recall to him her round, clear, ardent eyes. 
The shower of sunshine that's her hair, the sheen 
Of the cream-white flesh — shall these things serve as fuel.? 
Tell him that when she heard once he was wounded. 
And how he bled and anguished; at the tale 
She wept for pity. 

Prior. If her love be true 

She will adore her lover's God, embrace 
The faith that marries you in life and death. 
This promise with the Landgrave would prevail 
More than all sobs and pleadings. 

Prince W. Save her, save her! 

If any promise, vow or oath can serve, 
Oh trusting, tranquil Siisskind, who estopped 
Your ears forewarned, bandaged your visioned eyes, 
To woo destruction! Stay! did he not speak 
Of amulet or talisman.!" horrors 
Have crowded out my wits. Yea, the gold casket! 
What fixed serenity beamed from his brow. 
Laying the precious box within my hands! 

[He brings from the shelf the casket, and hands it to the Prior:] 

Deliver this, unto the Prince my father, 
Nor lose one vital moment. What it holds, 
I guess not — but my light heart whispers me 
The jewel safety's locked beneath its lid. 

Prior. First I must foil such devil's tricks as lurk _, 
In its gem-crusted cabinet. 

Prince Away! 

Deliverance posts on your return I feel it. 
For your much comfort thanks. Goodijight. 

Prior. Goodnight. 



A cell in the Wartburg Monastery. Enter Prior Peppercorn with the casket. 

Prior. So! Glittering shell where doubtless shines concealed 
An orient treasure fit to bribe a king, 
Ransom a prince and buy him for a. son. 
I have baptized thee now before the altar. 
Effaced the Jew's contaminating touch, 
And I am free to claim the Church's tithe 

From thy receptacle. (I/e is about to unlock the casket, when, enters 
Lay Brother, and he hastily conceals it. ) 

Lay Brother. Peace be thine, father! 

Prior. Amen! and thine. What's ix&'fi} 

Lay Brother. A strange Flagellant 

Fresh come to Wartburg craves a word with thee. 

Prior. Bid him within. {Exit Lay Brother. Prior places the cas- 
ket in a Cabinet.) Patience!' No hour of the day 
Brings freedom to the priest. 

(Re-enter Lay Brother ushering in Nordmann — and exit.) 

Brother, all hail! 
Blessed be thou who compst in God's name! 

Nordmann. May the Lord grant thee thine own prayer four-fold! 

Prio.h. What is thine errand.' 

Norpmann. Look at me, my father. 

Long since you called rne friend. 

( The Prior looks at him attentively, while an expression of wonder and terror 
gradually overspreads his face.) 

Prior. Almighty God! 

The grave gives up her dead. Thou canst not be — 

Nordmann. Nordmann of Nordmannstein, the Knight of Trefifurt. 
Prior. He was beheaded years agone; 

26 V 

NORDMANN. His death 

Had been decreed, but in his stead a squire 
Clad in his garb and masked, paid bloody forfeit. 
A loyal wretch on whom the Prince wreaked vengeance, 
Rather than publish the true bird had flown. 

Prior. Does Frederick know thou art in Eisenach.? 

NORDMANN. Who would divine the Knight- of Nordmannstein 
In the Flagellants' weeds.? From land to land, 
From town to town, we cry, " Death to the Jews! 
Hep! hep! Hierosolyma Est PerditaV 
They die like rats; in Gotha they are burned; 
Two of the devil brutes in Chatelard, 
Child-murderers, .wizards, breeders of the Plague, 
Had the truth squeezed from them with screws and racks. 
All with explicit date, place, circumstance, 
And written as it fell from dying lips 
By scriveners of the law. Un their confession 
The Jews of Savoy were destroyed. To-morrow noon 
The holy flames shall dance in Nordhausen. 

Prior. Your zeal bespeaks you fair. In your deep eyes. 
A mystic fervor shinies; yet your scarred flesh 
And shrunken limbs denote exhausted nature. 
Collapsing under discipline. 

NORDMANN. Speak not 

Of the degrading body and its pangs. 
I am all zeal, all energy, all spirit. 
Jesus was wroth at me, at all the world. 
For our indulgence of the flesh, our base 
Compounding with his enemies the Jews. 
But at Madonna Mary's intercession. 
He charged an angel with this gracious word, 
" Whoso will scourge himself for forty days. 
And labor towards the clean extermination 
Of earth's corrupting vermin, shall be saved." 
Oh, what vast peace this message brought my soul! 
I have learned to love the ecstasy of pain. 
When the sweat stands upon my flesh, the blood 
Throbs in my bursting veins, my twisted muscles 
Are cramped with agony, I seem to crawl 
Anigh his feet who suff^ered on the Cross. 

Prior. Oh all transforming Time! Can this be he, 
The iron warrior of a decade since. 
The gallant youth of earlier years, whose pranks 
And reckless buoyancy of temper flashed 
Clear sunshine through my gloom.? 

NORDMANN. I am unchanged, 

(Save that the spirit of grace has fallen on me.) 
Ul-ged by one motive through these banished years, j 


Fed by one hope, av/ake to realize 
One living dream — my long delayed revenge. 
You saw the day when Henry Schnetzen's castle 
Was raged with fire? 

Prior. I saw it. 

NORDMANN. Schnetzen's wife, 

Three days a mother, perished. 

Prior. And his child.? 

NoRDMANN. His child was saved. 

Prior. By whom.' 

NoRDMANN. By the same Jew 

Who had betrayed the Castle. 

Prior. Siisskind von Orb.' 

NoRDMANN. Siisskind von Orb! and Schnetzen's daughter lives 
As the Jew's child within the Judengasse. 

Prior, {eagerly) What proof hast thou of this.? 

NoRDMANN. Proof of these eyes! 

I visited von Orb to ask a loan. 

There saw I such a maiden as no Jew ■' 

Was ever blessed withal since Jesus' died. 
White as a dove, with hair like golden floss. 
Eyes like an Alpine lake. The haughty line 
Of brow imperial, high bridged nose, fine chin, 
Seemed like the shadow cast upon the wall, 
Where Lady Schnetzen stood. 

Prior. Why hast thou ne'er 

Discovered her to Schnetzen.? 

NORDMANN. He was my friend. 

I shared with him thirst, hunger, sword and fire. 
But he became a courtier. When the Margrave 
Sent me his second challenge to the field. 
His messenger was Schnetzen! 'Mongst his J<nights, 
The apple of his eye was Henry Schnetzen. 
He was the hound that hunted me to death. 
He stood by Frederick's side when I was led 
Bound, to the presence. I denounced him coward, 
He smote me on the cheek. Christ! it stings yet. 
He hissed — " My Hege, let Henry Nordmann hang! 
He is no knight, for he receives a blow. 
Nor dare avenge it!" My gyved wrists moved not. 
No nerve twitched in my face, although I felt 
Flame leap there from my heart, then flying back. 
Leave it cold-bathed with deathly ooze — my soul 
In silence took her supreme vow of hate. 

Prior. Praise be to God that thou hast come to-day. 
To-morrow were too late. Hast thou not heard 
Frederick sends Schnetzen unto ISfordhausen, 
• With fire and lortur? for the Jews.' 


NORDMANN. So! Henry Schnetzen 

Shall be the Jews' destroyer? Ah! 

Prior. One moment. 

Mayhap this box which Siisskind sends the Prince 
Reveals more wonders. He brings forth the Casket from the Cabi- 
net — opens it, and discovers a golden cross and a parchment which he 
hastily overlooks.) Hark! your word's confirmed.. 
Blessed be Christ, our Lord! (reads!) 

" I Siisskind von Orb of Nordhausen, swear by the unutterable Name, that on the 
day when the Castle of Salza was burned, I rescued the infant daughter of Henry 
Schnetzen from the^ames. I purposed restoring her to her father, but when 1 re- 
turned to Nordhausen, I found my own child lying on her bier, and my wife in fe- 
vered frenzy calling for her babe. I sought the leech, who counseled me to show 
the Christian child to the bereaved mother as her own. The pious trick prevailed; 
the fever broke, the mother was restored. But never would she part with the child, 
even when she had learned to whom it belonged, and until she was gathered with the 
dead — may peace be with her soul! — she foStered in our Jewish home the offspring of 
the Gentile knight. Then again would I have yielded the girl to her parent, bi^t 
Schnetzen was my foe, and I feared the haughty baron would disown, the daughter 
who came from the hands of the Jew. Now however the rnaid&n's temporal happiness 
demands that she be acknowledged by her rightful father. Let him see what I have 
written. As a token, behold this golden cross, bound by the Lady Schnetzen round 
the infant's neck. May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob redeem and bless me 
as I have writ the truth." 

Prior. I thank the Saints that this has come betimes. 
Thou shalt renounce thy hate. Vengeance is mine, 
The Lord hath said. 

NORDMANN. Oh! all transforming Time! 

Is this meek, saintly-hypocrite, the firm 
Ambitious, resolute Reinhard Peppercorn, 
Terror of Jews and beacon of the Church.' 
Look, you, I have won the special grace of Christ, 
He knows through what fierce anguish! Now he leans 
Out oi his heaven to whisper in mine ear, 
And reach me my revenge. He makes my cause 
His own — and I shall fail upon these heights, 
Sink from the level of a hate sublime, 
To puerile pity! 

Prior. Be advised. You hold 

Your enemy's Hving heart within your hands. 
This secret is far costlier than you dreamed. 
For Frederick's son woos Schnetzen's daughter. See, 
A hundred delicate springs your wit may move. 
Your puppets are the Landgrave and the Prince, 
The Governor of Salza and the Jews.' 
You may recover station, wealth and honor. 
Selling your secret shrewdly; while rash greed 
Of clumsy vengeance may but drag you down 
In the wild whirl of universal ruin. 

NORDMANN. Christ teach me whom to trust! I would not spill 


One drop from out this brimming glorious cup 

For whicli my parched heart pants. I will consider. 

Prior. Pardon me now, if I break off our talk. 
Let all rest as it stands until the dawn. 
I have many orisons before the light. 

NORDMANN. Goodnight, true friend. Devote a prayer to me. 
(Aside.)- I will outwit you, serpent, though you glide 
Athwart the dark, noiseless and swift as fate. 


Scene II. On the road to Nordhausen. Moonlit, rocky landscape. On the right 
between high, white cliffs a narrow stream spanned by a wooden bridge. Thick 
bushes and trees. Enter Prince William and Page. 

Prince W. Is this the place where we shall find fresh steeds.-' 
Would I had not dismounted! 

Page. Nay, sir; beyond 

The Werra bridge the horses wait for us. 
These rotten planks v/ould never bear their weight, 

Prtnce W. When' I am Landgrave these things shall be cared for. 
This is an ugly spot for traveler^ 
To loiter in. How swift the water runs, 
Brawling above our voices. Human, cries 
Would never reach Liborius- convent yonder, 
Perched on the sheer, chalk cHff. I think of peril, 
From my excess of joy. My spirit chafes, 
She that would breast broad-winged the air, must halt 
On stumbling mortal limbs. Look, thither, boy, 
How the black shadows of the tree-boles stripe 
The moon- blanched bridge and meadow. 

Page. Sir, what's that.? 

Yon stir and glitter in the bush.? 

I'RINCE W. The moon 

Pricking the dewdrops, plays fantastic tricks' 
With objects most familiar. Look again, 
And where thou sawst the steel-blue flicker glint. 
Thou findst a black, wet leaf. 

Page. >; No, no! oh God! 

Your sword, sir! Treason! 

(Four armed masked men leap from out the bush, seize, bind and overmaster, after 
a brief but violent resistance, the Prince and his servant.) < 

Prince W. _ Who are ye, villains.? lying 
In murderous ambush for the Prince of Meissen.? 
If you be knights, speak honorably your names. 
And I will combat you in knightly wise. 
If ye be robbejg, name forthwith your ransom. 
Let me but speed ypon my journey now. 
By Christ's blood. I beseech you, let me go! 
Ho! treason! murder! help! 

(He is dragged off struggling Exeunt omn^s.) 

Scene III. Nordhausen. A room in Siisskind's house. Liebhaid and Claire. 

LlEBHAlD. Say on, poor girl, if but to speak these iiorrors 
Revive not too intense a pang. 

Claire. Not so. 

For all my woes seem liere to merge their flood 
Into a sea of infinite repose. 

Through France our journey led, as I have told. 
From desolation unto desolation. 

Naught stayed my father's course — sword, storm, flame, plague, 
Exhaustion of the eighty year old frame,' 
O'ertaxed bej'ond endurance. Once, once only, 
His divine face succumbed. 'Twas at day's close. 
And all the air was one discouragement 
Of April snow-flakes. I was drenched, cold, sick, 
With weariness and hunger light of head, , 
And oh the open road, suddenly turned 
The whole world like the spinning flakes of snow. 
My numb hand slipped from his, and all was blank. 
His beard, his breath upon my brow, his tears 
Scalding my cheek hugged close against his breast. 
And in my ear deep groans awoke me. " God!" 
I heard him cry — " try me not past my strength. 
No prophet I, a blind, old dying man!" 
Gently I drew his face to mine, and kissed, 
Whispering courage — then, his spirit broke 
Utterly; shattered were' his wits, I feared. 
But past is past; he is at peace, and I 
Find shelter from the tempest. Tell me rather 
Of your serene life. 

Liebhaid. Happiness is mute. 

What record speaks of placid, golden days. 
Matched each with each as twins.' Till yester-eve 
My life was simple as a song. At whiles 
Dark tales have reached us of our people's wrongs 
Strange, far-off anguish, furrowing with fresh care 
My father's brow, draping our home with gloom. 
Were still blessed; the Landgrave is his friend — 
The Prince — my Prince — dear Claire, ask me no more! 
My adored enemy, my angel-fiend, 
Splitting my heart against my heart! Oh God, 
How shall I pray for strength to love him less 
Than mine own soul.' 

Claire. What mean these contrary words.' 

These passionate tears? 

Liebhaid. Brave girl, who art inured 

To difficult privation and rude pain, 
What good shall come forswearing kith and God, 


To fellow the allurements of the heart? 

Claire. Duty wears one face, but a thousand masks. 
Thy feet she leads to glittering peaks, while mine > 
She guides midst braT:;ibled roadways. Not the first 
Art thou of Israel's women, chosen of God, 
To rule o'er rulers. I remember me 
A verse my father often would repeat 
Out of our sacred Talmud: " Every time 
The sun, moon, stars begin again their course, 
They hesitate, trembling and filled with shame. 
Blush at the blasphemous worship offered them, 
And each time God's voice thunders, crying out. 
On with your duty!" 

(Enter Reuben.) 

Reuben. Sister, we are lost! 

The streets are thronged with panic-stricken folk. 
Wild rumors fill the air. Tyvo of our tribe. 
Young Mordecai. as I hear, and old Baruch, 
Seized by the mob, were dragged tovi^ards Eisenach, 
Cruelly used, left to bleed out their lives, 
In the wayside ditch at night. This morn, betimes, 
The iron-hearted Governor of Salza, 
Rides furious into Nordhausen; his horse 
Spurred past endurance, drops before the gate. 
The Council has been called to hear him read 
Tile Landgrave's message',— all men say, 'tis death 
Unto our race. > 

LlEBHAlD. Where is our father, Reuben.? 

Reuben. With Rabbi Jacob. Through the streets they walk, 
Striving to quell the terror Ah, too late! 
Had he but heeded the prophetic voice, 
This warning angel led to us in vain! 

LlEBHAlD. Brother, be calm. Man your young heart to front 
Whatever ills the Lord afflicts us with. 
What does Prince William.? Hastes he not to aid.? 

Reuben. None know his whereabouts. Some say he's held 
Imprisoned by the Landgrave. Others tell 
While he was posting with deliverance 
To Nordhausen, in bloody Schnetzen's wake, 
Hj was set upon by ruffians — kidnapped — killed- 
What do I know — hid till our ruin's wrought. 

(Liebhaid swoons.) 

Claike. Hush, fooHsh boy. See how your rude words hurt 
Look up, sweet girl; take comfort. 

Reuben. Pluck up heart: 

Dear sister, pardon me; he lives, he lives! 

Liebhaid. God help me! Shall my heart crack for love's loss 
That meekly bears my people's martyrdom.? 


He lives — I feel it— to live or die with me. 
I love him as my soul — no more of that. 
I am all Israel's now — till this cloud pass, 
I have no thought, no passion, no desire, 
Save for my people. 

(Enter Susskind.) 

SUSSKIND. Blessed art thou, my child! 

This is the darkest hour before the dawn. 
Thou art the morning star of Israel. 
How dear thou art to me — heart of my heart, 
Mine, mine, all mine to-day! the pious thought, 
The orient spirit mine, the Jewish soul. 
The glowing veins that sucked life-nourishment 
From Hebrew mother's milk. Look at me, Liebhaid, 
Tell me you love me Pity me, my God! 
No fiercer pang than this did Jephthah know. 

Liebhaid. Father, what wild and wandering words are these.' 
Is all hope lost? 

Susskind. Nay, God, is good to us. 

I am so well assured the town is safe, 
That I can weep my private loss — of thee. 
An ugly dream I had, quits not my sense, 
That you, made Princess of Thuringia, 
Forsook your father, and forswore your race. 
Forgive me, Liebhaid, I am calm again. 
We must be brave^-I who besought my tribe 
To bide their fate in Nordhausen, arid you 
Whom God elects for a peculiar lot. 
With many have I talked; some crouched at home. 
Some wringing hands about the public ways. 
I gave all comfort I am very weary. 
My children, we had best go in and pray, 
Solace and safety dwell but in the Lord. 




Scene I. The City Hall at Nordhausen. Deputies and Burghers assembling. To 
the right at a table near the President's chair, is seated the Public Scrivener. En- 
ter Dietrich von Tettenborn, and Henry Schnetzen with an open letter 
in his hand. . 
Schnetzen. Didst hear the fellow's words who handed it.' 

I asked from whom it came, he spoke by rote, 

" The pepper bites, the corn is ripe for harvest, 

I come from Eisenach." 'Tis some tedious jest. 
Tettenborn. Doubtless your shrewd friend Prior Peppercorn 

Masks here some warning. Ank the scrivener 

To help us to its contents. 

Schnetzen. ( To the clerk.) Read me these. 
Scrivener {reads): 

" Beware, Lord Henry Schnetzen, of Sflsskind's lying tongue! He will 
thrust a cuckoo's egg into your nest. 

[Signed] One Who Knows." 
Schnetzen. A cuckoo's egg! that riddle puzzles me; 
But this I know. Schnetzen is no man's dupe, 
Much less a Jew's. 

(Schnetzen and von Tettenborn take their seats side by side.) 
Tettenborn. Knights, counsellors and burghers! 

Sir Henry Schnetzen, Governor of Salza, 

Comes on grave mission from His Highness, Frederick, 

Margrave of Meissen, Landgrave of Thuringia, 

Our town's imperial Patron and Protector. 

Schnetzen. Gentles, I greet you in the Landgrave's name. 

The honored bearer of his princely script, 

Sealed with his signet. Read, good Master Clerk. 

[He hands a parchment to the Scrivener, who reads aloud :J 
Lord President and Deputies of the town of Nordhausen! Know that we, Frede- 
rick, IVIargrave of Meissen, and Landgrave of Thuringia, command to be burned all 
the Jews within our territories as far as our lands extend, on account of the great 
crime they have committed against Christendom in throwing poison into the wells, 
of the truth of which we have absolute knowledge. Therefore we admon- 
ish you to have tlie Jews killed m honor of Qod, so that Christendom be not enfee- 
bled by them. Whatever responsibility you incur, we will assume with our Lord the 
Emperor, and with all other lords. Know also that we send to you Henry Schnpt- 
zen, our Governor of Salza, who shall publicly accuse your Jews of the *above-inen- 
tjorjed crime. Therefore we beseech you to help him to do justice upon them, and we 
will singularlyreward your good will. 

Given at Eisenach, the Thursday after St. Walpurgis, under our secret Seal.f 

A Counsellor {Diether von Werther.) Fit silence welcomes this 
unheard-of wrong ! 
So! Ye are men — free, upright, honest men. 
Not hired assassins.? I half doubted it,' ■ 

t This is an authentic document. 


Seeing j'^ou lend these Infamous words your ears. 

SCHNETZEN. Consider, gentlemen of Nordhausen, 
Ere ye give heed to the rash partisan. 
Ye cro^s the Landgrave — well.'' he crosses you. 
It may be I shall ride to Nordhausen, 
Not with a harmless script, but with a sword, 
And so denounce the town for perjured vow. 
What was the Strasburg citizens' reward 
Who championed these lost wretches, in the face 
Of King and Kaiser — three against the world, 
Conrad von Winterthur the Burgomaster, 
Deputy Gosse Sturm, and Peter Schwarber, 
Master mechaflic.'' These leagued fools essayed 
To stand between the people's sacred wrath. 
And its doomed object. Well, the Jews, no less, 
Were rooted from the city neck and crop, 
And their three friends degraded from their rank 
I' the city council, glad to save their skins. ' 

The Jews are foes to God. Our Holy Father 
Thunders his ban from Rome against all such 
As aid the poisoners. Your oath to God, 
And to the Prince enjoins — Death to the Jews. 

A Burgher. {Reinhard Rolapp.) Why all this vain debate.' The 
Landgrave's brief 
Affirms the Jews fling poison in the wells. 
Shall we stand by and leave them unmolested. 
Till they have made our town a wilderness? 
I'say, Death to the Jews! 

A BURGHEk. (Hugo Sckultz.)M.y lord and brethren, 
I have scant gift of speech, ye are all my elders. 
Yet hear me for truth's sake, and liberty's. 
The Landgrave of Thuringia isourpatron. 
True — and our town's imperial Governor, 
But are we not free burghers.' Shall we not 
Debate and act in freedom.? If Lord Schnetzen " 

Will force our council with the sword — enough! 
We are not frightened schoolboys crouched beneath ^ 
The master's rod, but men who bear the sword 
As brave as he. By this grim messenger, 
Send back this devilish missive. Say to Frederick 
Nordhausen never was enfeoffed to him. 
Prithee, Lord President, bid Henry Schnetzen 
Withdraw awhile, that we may all take counsel, 
According to the hour's necessity. 
As free men, whom nor fear nor favor swerves 

TettenborN. Boldyouth, you err. True, Nordhausen is free, 
And God be witness, we for fear or favor 


Would never shed the blood of innocence. 
But here the Prince condemns the Jews to death 
For capital crime. Who sees a snake must kill, 
Ere it spit fatal venom. I, too, say 
Death to the Jews! v 

All. Death to the jews! God wills it! 

Tettenborn. Give, me your voices in the f.rn. 
( The votes are taken. ) One voice 

For mercy, all the rest for death. {To an usher.) Go thou 
To the Jews' quarter; bid Siisskind von Orb, 
And Rabbi Jacob hither to the Senate, 

To hear the Landgrave's and the. town's decree. (Exit Usher.) 
( To Scknetzen.') What learn you of this evil through the State.' 

SCHNETZEN. >Tt swells to monstrous bulk. In many towns, 
Folk build high ramparts, round the wells and springs. 
In some they shun the treacherous sparkling brooks, 
To''drink dull rain-water, or melted snow. 
In mountain districts. ' Frederick has been patient, 
And too long clement, duped by fleece-cloaked wolves. 
But now his subjects' clamor rouses him 
To front the general peril. As I hear, 
A fiendish and far-reaching plot involves 
All Christian thronesand peoples. These vile vermin, 
Burrowing underneath society, 
Have leagued with Moors m Spain, with heretics 
Too plentiful — Christ knows! in every land. 
And planned a subterraneous, sinuous scheme, 
To overthrow all Christendom. But see. 
Where with audacious brows, and steadfast mien. 
They .enter, bold as innocence. Now listen, 
For we shall hear brave falsehoods. 

(Enter Siisskind von Orb and Rabbi Jacob.) 

Tettenborn. Rabbi Jacob, 

And thou, Siisskind von Orb, bow down, and learn 
The Council's pleasure. You the least despised 
By true believers, and most reverenced 
By your own tribe, we grace with, our free leave 
To enter, yea, to lift your voices here, 
Amid these wise and honorable men. 
If ye find aught to plead, that mitigates 
The just severity of your doom. Our Prince, 
Frederick tne Grave, Patron of Nordhausen, 
Ordains that all the Jews within his lands, 
For the foul crime of poisoning the wells, 
Bringing the Black Death upon Christendom, 
Shall be consumed with flame. 

Rab6i Jacob. [Springing forward and das'ping his hands), V the 
Name of God, 


Your God and ours, have mercy! 

SUSSKIND. Noble lords, 

Burghers and artisans of Nordhausen, 
Wise, honorable, just, God-fearing men, 
Shall ye condemn or ever ye have hearjl? 
Sure, one at least owns here the close, kind name 
Of Brother — unto him I turn. At least 
Some sit among you who have wedded wives, 
Bear the dear title and the precious charge 
Of husband — unto these I speak. Some here. 
Are crowned, it may be, with the sacred name 
Of Father — unto these I pray. All, all 
Are sons — all have been children, all have known 
The love of parents — unto these I cry: 
Have mercy on us, we are innocent. 
Who are brothers, husbands, fathers, sons as ye! 
Look you, we "have dwelt among you many years, 
Led thrifty, peaceable, well-ordered lives. 
Who can attest, who prove we ever wrought 
Or ever did devise the smallest harm, 
Far less this fiendish crime against the State.-" 
leather let those arise who owe the Jews 
Some debt of unpaid kindness, profuse alms. 
The Hebrew leech's serviceable skill. 
Who know our patience under injury, 
And ye would see, if all stood bravely forth, 
A motley host, led by the Landgrave's self, 
Recruited from all ranks, and in the rear, 
The humblest, veriest wretch in Nordhausen. 
We know the Black Death is a scourge of God. 
Is not our flesh as capable of pain. 
Our blood as quick envenomed as your own.'' 
Has the Destroying Angel passed the posts 
Of Jewish doors — to visit Christian homes.? 
We all are slaves of one tremenioiis Hour. 
We drink the waters which our enemies say 
We spoil with poison, ^ — we must breathe, as jje, 
The universal air,— we droop, faint, sicken. 
From the same causes to the selfsame end. 
Ye are not strangers to me, though ye wear 
Grim masks to-day'^loids, knights and citizens, 
Few do I see whose hand has pressed not mine, 
In cordial greeting, Dietrich von Tettenborn, 
If at my death, my Wealth be confiscate 
Unto the "State, bethink you, lest she prove 
A harsher creditor than. I have been. 
Stout Meister Rolapp, may yoif never again 
Languish so nigh to death that Simon's art 


Be needed to restore your lusty limbs. 

Good Hugo Schultz — ah ! be those blessed tears 

Remembered unto you in Paradise! 

Look there, my lords, one of your council weeps, 

If you be men, why, then an angel sits 

On yonder bench. You have good cause to weep, 

You who are Christian, and disgraced in that 

Whereof you made your boast. I have no tears. 

A fiery wrath has scorched their source, a voice 

Shrills through my brain — "Not upon us, on them 

Fall everlasting woe, if this thing be!" 

SCHNETZEN. My lords of NordhAusen, shall ye be stunned 
With sounding words.'' Behold the serpent's skin. 
Sleek-shining, clear as sunlight; yet h"is tooth 
Holds deadly poison. Even as the Jews 
Did nail the Lord of heaven on the Cross. 
So will they murder all his followers. 
When once they have the might. Beware, beware! 

SUSSKIND. So jj/^?< are the accuser, my lord Schnetzen.? 
Now I confeiss, before you I am guilty. 
You are in all this presence, the one man 
Whom any Jew hath wronged — and 1 that Jew. 
Oh, my offence is grievous; punish me 
With the utmost rigor of the law, for theft 
And violence, whom ye deemed an honest man. 
But leave my tribe unharmed! I yield my hands 
Unto your chains, my body to your fires; 
Let one life serve for all. 

SCHNETZEN.. You hear, my lords. 
How the prevaricating villain shrinks 
From the absolute truth, yet dares not front his Maker 
With the full damnable he hot on his lips. 
Not ti ou alone, my private foe shalt die, 
But all thy race. Thee had my vengeance reached, 
Without appeal to Prince or citizen. 
Silence! my heart is cuirassed as my breast. 

Rabbi Jacob. Bear with us, gracious lords! My friend is stunned. 
He is an honest man. Even I, as 'twere, 
Am stupefied by this surprising news. 
Yet, let me think — it seems it is not new. 
This is an ancient, well-remembered pain. 
What, brother, came not one who prophesied 
This should betide exactly as it doth.? 
That was a shrewd old man! Your pardon, lords, 
I think you know not just what you would do. 
You say the Jews shall burn — shall burn you say; 
Why, good my lords, the Jews are not a flock 
Of gallqws-birds, they are a colony 


Of kindly, virtuous folk. Come home v/ith me; 
I'll show you happy hearths, glad roofs, pure lives. 
Why, some of them are little quick-eyed boys, 
Some, pretty, ungrown maidens — children's children 
Of those who called me to the pastorate. 
And some are beautiful tall girls, some, youths 
Of marvelous promise, some are old and sick. 
Amongst them there be mothers, infants, brides. 
Just like your Christian people, for all the world. 
Know ye what burning is.'' Hath one of you, 
Scorched ever his soft flesh, or singed his beard. 
His hair, his eyebrows — felt the keen, fierce nip 
Of the pungent flame — and raises not his voice 
To stop this holocaust.' God! 'tis too horrible! 
Wake me, my friends, from this terrific dream. 

SUSSKIND. Courage, my brother. On our firmness hangs 
The dignity of Israel. Sir Governor, 
I have a secret word to speak with you. 

SCHNETZEN. Ye shall enjoy with me the jest. These knaves 
Are apt in quick invention as in crime. 
Speak out — I have no secrets from my peers. 

SUSSKIND. My lord, what answer would you give your Christ 
If peradventure, in this general doom 
You sacrifice a Christian.? Some strayed dove 
Lost from your cote, among our vultures caged.i" 
Beware, for midst our virgins there is one 
Owes kinship nor allegiance to our tribe. 
For her dear sake be pitiful, my lords| 
Have mercy on our women! Spare at least 
My daughter Liebhaid, she is none of mine! 
She is a Christian! 

SCHNETZEN. Just as I foretold! 
The wretches will forswear the sacred'st ties. 
Cringing for life. .Serpents, ye all shall die. 
So wills the Landgrave; so the court affirms. 
Your daughter shall be first, whose wanton arts 
Have brought destruction on a princely house. 

SUSSKIND. My lord, be moved. You kill your flesh and blood. 
By Adonai I swear, your dying wife. 
Entrusted to these arms her' child. 'Twas I 
Carried your infant from your burning home. 
Lord Schnetzen, will you murder your own child.' 

SCHNETZEN. Ha, excellent! I was awaiting this 
Thou wilt inoculate our knightly veins 
With thy corrupted Jewish blood. Thou'lt foist 
This adder on my bosom. Henry Schnetzen 
Is no weak dupe, whom every lie may start. 
Make ready, ]&^, for death — and warn thy tribe. 


SUSSKIND. {kneeling-.) Is there a God in heaven? I who ne'ef 
Until this hour to any man on earth, 
Tyrant, before "thee I abase myself. 
If one rtd drop of human blood still flow 
In thy congealed veins, if thou e'er have known 
Touch of affection, the blind natural instinct 
Of common kindred, even beasts partake 
Thou man of frozen stone, thou hollow statue. 
Grant me one prayer, that thou wilt look on her. 
Then shall the eyes of thy dead wife gaze back 
From out the maiden's orbs, then shall a voice 
Within thine entrails, cry — This is my child. 

SCHNETZEN. Enough.'' I pray you, my lord President, 
End this unseemly scene. This wretched Jew 
Would thrust a cuckoo's egg within my nest. 
I have had timely warning. Send the twain 
Back to their people, that the court's' decree 
Be published unto all. 

SUSSKIND. Lord Tettenborn! 

Citizens! will you see this nameless crime 
Brand the clean earth, blacken the crystal heaven.? 
Why, no man stirs! God! with what thick strange fumes 
Hast thou, o' the sudden, brutalized their sense? ' 

Or am I mad.? Is this already hell.' 
Worshipful fiendsj, I have good store of gold, 
Packed in my coffers, or loaned out to — Christians; 
I give it you as free as night bestows 
Her copious dews — my life .shall seal the bond, 
Have mercy on my race! 

Tettenborn. No more, no more! 

Go, bid your tribe make ready for their death 
At sunset. 

Rabb Jacob. Oh! 

SUSSKIND. At, set of sun to-day.? 
Why, if you traveled to the nighest town, " 

Summoned to stand before a mortal Prince, 
You would need longer put in order 
Household effects, to bid farewell to friends. 
And make yourself right worthy. But our way 
Is long, our journey difficult, our Judge 
Of awful majesty. Must we set forth. 
Haste-flushed and unprepared.? One brief day more, 
And all my wealth is yours! 

Tettenborn. We have heard enough. 

Begone, and bear our message. 

SUSSKIND. ' Courage, brother. 

Our fate is sealed. These tigers are athirst. 


Return we to our people to proclaim 
The gracious sentence of the noble court. 
Let us go thank the Lord who made us those 
To suffer, not to do, this deed. Be strong. 
So! lean on me — we have little time to lose. 



Scene I, A Room in Siisskind's House. Liebhaid, Claire, Reuben. 

LlEBHAlD. The air hangs sultry as in mid-July. 
Look forth, Claire; moves not some big thunder-cloud 
Athwart the sky.'' My heart is sick. 

Claire. Nay, Liebhaid. 

The clear May sun is shining, and the air 
Blows fresh and cordial from the budding hills. 

Liebhaid. Reuben, what is 't o'clock. Our father stays. 
The midday meal was cold an hour agone, 

Reuben. 'Tis two full hours past noon: he should be here. 
Ah s^e, he comes. Great God! what wee has chanced.? 
He totters on his staff; he has grown old 
Since he went forth this morn. 

Enter Susskind.) 

Liebhaid. Father, what news.' 

Susskind. The Lord have mercy! Vain is the help of man. 
Children, -is all in order.? We must start 
At set of sun on a long pilgrimage. 
So wills the Landgrave, so the court decrees. 

Liebhaid. W^hat is it, father.? Exile? 

Susskind. Yea, 'just that. 

We are banished from our vexed, uncertain homes, 
'Midst foes and strangers, to a land of peace, 
Where joy abides, where only comfort is. 
Banished from care, fear, trouble, life — to death. 

Reuben. Oh honor! horror! Father, I will not die. 
Come, let us flee — we yet have time for flight. 
I'll bribe the sentinel — he will ope the gates 
Liebhaid,. Claire, Father! let us flee! Away 
To some safe land where we may nurse revenge. 

Susskind. Courage, my son, and peace. We may not flee. 
Didst thou not see the spies who dogged my steps.' 
The gates are thronged with citizens and guards. ' 
We must not flee — God wills that we should die. 


LlEBHAlD. Said you at sunset? 

SUSSKIND. So they have decreed. 

Claire. Oh why not now? Why spare the time to warn? 
Why came they not with thee to massacre, 
Leaving no agony betwixt the sentence 
And instant execution? That were mercy! 
Oh, my prophetic father! 

SUSSK-IND. They allow 

Full five hours' grace to shrive our souls with prayer. 
We shall assemble in the Synagogue, 
As on Atonement Day, confess our. sins, 
Recite the Kaddish for the Dead, and chant 
Our Shibboleth, the Unity of God, 
Until the supreme hour when w^ shall stand 
Before the mercy-seat. 

LlEBHAlD. In what dread shape 
Approaches death? 

SUSSKIND. Nerve your young hearts, my children. 

We shall go down as God's three servants went 
Into the fiery furnace. Not again 
Shall the flames spare the true- believers' flesh. 
The anguish shall be fierce and strong, yet brief. 
Our spirits shall not know the touch of pain, 
Pure as refined gold they shall issue safe 
From the hot crucible; a pleasing sight 
Unto the Lord, Oh, 'tis a rosy bed 
^yhere we shall couch, compared with that whereon 
They lie who kindle this accursed blaze. 
Ye shrinkj" ye would avert your martyred brows 
From the immortal crowns the angels offer? 
What! are we Jews and are afraid of death? 
God's chosen people, shall we stand a-tremble 
Before our Father, as the Gentiles use? 

Reuben. Shall the smoke choke us, father? or the flame 
Consume our flesh? 

SUSSKIND. I know not, boy. Be sure" 
The Lord will temper tiyt shrewd pain for those 
Who trust in Him. 

Reuben. May I stand by thy side. 
And hold my hand in thine until the end? 

SUSSKIND. {aszde.)What solace hast thou, God, in all thy heavens 
For such an hour as this? Yea, hand in hand 
We walk, my son, through fire, to meet the Lord.. 
Yet there is one among us shall not burn. 
A secret shaft long rankling in my heart, 
Now I withdraw, and die. Our general doom, 
Liebhaid, is not for thee. Thou art no Jewess. 


Thy father is the man who wills our death; 
Lord Henry Schnetzen. 

LlEBHAlD. Look at me! your eyes 
Are sane, correcting your distracted words. 
This is Love's trick, to rescue me from death. 
My love is firm as thine, and dies with thee. 

Claire. Oh, Liebhaidj live. Hast thou forgot the Prince.? 
Think of the happy summer blooms for thee 
When we are in our graves. 

LlEBHAID. And I shall smile. 

Live and rejoice in love, when ye are dead.'' 

SUSSKIND. My child, my child! By the Ineffable Name, 
The Adonai, I swear, thou must believe. 
Albeit thy father scoffed, gave me the lie. 
Go kneel to him— for if he see thy face, 
Or hear thy voice, he shall not doubt, but save. 

LlEBHAlD. Never! If I be offspring to that kite, 
I here deny my race, forsake my father, — 
So does thy dream fall true. Let him save thee. 
Whose hand has guided mine, v/hose lips have blessed. 
Whose bread has nourished me. Thy God is mine. 
Thy people are my people. 

Voices {without). Siisskind von Orb! 

SUSSK.IND, I come, my friends. 

(Enter boisterously certain Jews.) 

1ST Jew. Come to the house of God! 

2D Jew. Wilt tliou. desert us for whose sake we perish.' 

3D Jew. The awful hour draws nigh. Come forth with us 
Unto the Synagogue. 

SUSSKIND. Bear with me, neighbors. 

Here we may weep, here for the last time know 
The luxury of sorrow, the soft touch 
Of natural tenderness; here our hearts may break; 
Yonder no tears, no faltering! Eyes serene 
Lifted to heaven, and defiant brows 
To those who have usurped the name of men, 
Must prove our faith and valor limitless 
As is their cruelty. One more embrace. 
My daughter, thrice my daughter! Thine affection 
Outshines the hellish flames of hate; farewell. 
But for a while; beyond the river of fire 
I'll fold thee in mine arms, immortal angel! 
For thee, poor orphan, soon to greet again 
The blessed brows of parents, I dreamed not 
The grave was all the home I had to give. 
Go thou with' Liebhaid, and array yourselves 
As for a bridal. Come, little son, with me. 


Friends, I am ready. Oh, my God, my God, 
Forsake us not in our extremity! 

(Exeunt Siisskind and Jews.) 

Scene II. — A Street in the Judengasse. Several Jews pass across the stage, running 
and with gestures of distress. 

Jews. Woe, woe! the curse has fallen'! (Exeunt) 

(Enter other Jews.) 

1ST Jew. We are doomed. 
The fury of the Lord has smitten us. 
Oh that mine head were waters and mine eyes 
Fountains of tears!* God has forsaken us. 

(They knock at the doors of the houses.) 

2D Jew. What, Benjamin! Open the door to death! 
We all shall die at sunset! Menachem! 
Come forth! Come forth! Manasseh! Daniel! Ezra! 

(Jews appear at the windows.) 
One calling from above. Neighbors, what wild alarm is this.' 

1ST Jew. Descend! 

Descend! Come with us to the house of prayer. 
Save himself whoso can! we all shall burn. 

(Men and women appear at the doors of ttie houses.) 

One of the men at the door. Beseech you brethren, calmly ! 
Tell us all! 
Mine aged father lies at point of death 
Gasping within. Ye'U thrust him in his grave 
With boisterous clamor. 

1ST Jew. Blessed is the man 

Whom the Lord calls unto Himself in peace! 
Siisskind von Orb and Rabbi Jacob come 
From the tribunal where the vote is — Death 
To all our race. 

Several Voices. Woe! woe! God pity us! 

1ST Jew. Hie ye within, and take a last farewell 
Of home, love, life — put on your festal robes. 
So wills the Rabbi, and come forth at once 
To pray till sunset in the Synagogue. 

An Old Man. Oh God! Is this the portion of mine'age.? 
Were my white hairs, my old bones spared for this.? 
Oh cruel, cruel? , 

A Young Girl. I am too young to die. 

Save me, my father! To-morrow sihould have been 
The feast at Rachel's house. I longed for that, 
Counfed the days, dreaded some trivial chance 
Might cross my pleasure ^Lo, this horror comes ! 

* Jeremiah ix. i. 


A Bride. Oh love! oh thou just-tasted cup of joy 
Snatched from my lips! Shall we twain lie wjth death, 
Dark, silent, cold — whose every sense was tuned 
To happiness! Life was too beautiful — 
That was the dream — how soon we are awake! 
Ah, we have that within our hearts defies 
Their fiercest flames. No end, no end, no end! 

Jew. *God with a mighty hand, a stretched-out arm. 
And poured-out fury, ruleth over us. 
The sword is furbished, sharp i' the slayer's hand. 
Cry out and howl thou son of Israel! 
Thou shalt be fuel to the fire; thy blood 
Shall overflow the land, and thou no more 
Shalt be remembered— so the Lord hath spoken. 

' (Exeunt omnes.) 

Scene III.- Within the Synagogue. Above in the 'Gallery, women sumptuously 

attired; some with children by the hand or infants in their arms. Below the men 

and boys with silken scarfs about their shoulders. 

Rabbi Jacob. tThe Lord is nigh unto the broken heart. 

Out of the*depths we cry to thee, oh God ! 
Show us the path of everlasting life ; 
For in thy presence is the plenitude 
Of joy, and in thy right, hand endless bliss. 

(Enter Stisskind, Reuben, etc.) 

Several Voices. Woe unto us who perish ! 

A Jew. Susskind von Orb, 

Thou hast brought down this doom. Would we had heard 
The prophet's voice 1 

Susskind. Brethren, my cup is full ! 

Oh let us die as warriors of the Lord. 
The Lord is great in Zion. Let our death 
Bring no reproach to Jacob, no rebuke 
To Israel. Hark ye ! let us crave one boon 
At our assassins' hands ; beseech them build 
Within God's acre where our fathers sleep, 
A dancing-floor to hide the fagots stacked. 
Then let the minstrels strike the harp and lute. 
And we will dance and sing above the pile, 
Fearless of death, until the flames engulf, 
Even as David danced before the Lord, 
As Miriam danced and sang beside the sea. 
Great is our Lord ! His name is glorious 
In Judah, and extolled in Israel ! 
In Salem is his tent, his dwelling place 
In Zion ; lei us chant the praise of God ! 

A Jew. Siisskind, thou speakest well We will meet death ' 

* Ezekiel xx. 33; xxi. 11-32- 

t Service for Day of Atonement. 


With dance and song. Embrace him as a bride. 
So that the Lord receive us in His tent. 

Several Voices. Amen ! amen ! amen ! we dance to death ! 

Rabbi Jacob. Siisskind, go forth and beg this grace of them. 

(Exit Susskind.) 
Psnish us not in wrath, chastise us not 
In anger, oh our God ! Our sins o'erwhelm 
Our smitten heads, they are a grievous load ; 
We look on our iniquities, we tremble, 
Knowing our trespasses. Forsake us not. 
Be thou not far from us. Haste to our aid, 
Oh God, who art our Saviour and our Rock ! 

(Re-enter Susskind.) 

Susskind. Brethren, our prayer, being the last, is granted. 
The hour approaches. Let our thoughts ascend 
From mortal anguish, to the ecstasy 
Of martyVdom, the blessed death of those 
Who perish in the Lord Lsee, I see. 
How Israel's ever-crescent glory makes 
These flames that would eclipse it, dark as blots 
Of. candlelight against the blazing sun. 
We die a thousand deaths, — drown, bleed and burn; 
Our ashes are dispersed unto the winds. 
Yet the wild winds cherish the sacred seed. 
The waters guard it in their crystal heart, 
The fire refuseth to consume. It springs, 
A tree immortal, shadowing many lands, 
Unvisited, unnamed, undreamed as yet. 
Rather a vine, full-flowered, golden-branched. 
Ambrosial-fruited, creeping on the earth, 
Trod by the passer,'s foot, yet chosen to deck 
Tables of princes. Israel now has fallen 
Into the depths, he shall be great in timfi.t 
Even as we die in houDr, from our death 
Shall bloom a myriad heroic lives, 
^Brave through our bright example, virtuous 
'Lest our great memory fall in disrepute.* 
Is one among us, brothers, would es^change 
His doom against our tyrants,— lot for lot ? 
Let him go forth and live — he is no Jew. 
Is one who would not die in Israel 
Rather tlian live in Christ,-;-their Christ who smiles 
On such a deed as this .-' Let him go forth — 
He may die full of years upon his bed. 
Ye who nurse rancor haply in your hearts, 
Fear ye we perish unavenged ? Not so ! 

■f The vine creeps on the earth, trodden by the passer's foot, but its fruit goes up- 
on the table of princes Israel now has fallen in the depths, but he shall be great 
in the fulness of time. — Talmud. 


To-day, no ! nor to-morrow ! but in God's time, 
Our witnesses arise. Ours is the truth, 
Ours is the power, the gift of Heaven. We hold 
His Law, His lamp. His covenant, His pledge. 
Wherever in the. ages shall arise , 

Jew-priest, Jew-poet, Jew-singer, or Jew-saint — 
And everywhere I see them star the gloom — 
In each of these the martyrs are avenged ! 

Rabbi Jacob. Bring from the ark, the bell-fringed, silken-bound 
Scrolls of the Law. Gather the silver vessels. 
Dismantle the rich curtains of the doors. 
Bring the perpetual lamp ; all these shall burn. 
For Israel's light is darkened, Israel's Law 
Profaned by strangers. Thus the Lord hath said : 
"*The weapon formed against thee shall not prosper, 
The tongue that shall contend with thee in judgment, 
Thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage 
Of the Lord's servants and their righteousness. 
For thou shalt come to peoples yet unborn, . 
Declaring that which He hath done. Amen ! " 

( I'he doors of the Synagogue are burst open with tumultuous noise. Citizens and 
officers rush in.) 

Citizens. Come forth ! the sun sets. Come, the Council waits' 
What ! will ye teach your betters patience .-• Out ! 
The Governor is ready. Forth with you. 
Curs ! serpents ! Judases ! The borifire burns ! 

Scene IV. — A Public Place. Crowds of citizens assembled. On a platform are 

seated Dietrich von Tettenborn and Henry Schnetzen with other members 

of the Council. 

1ST Citizen. Here's such a throng I Neighbor, your elbow makes 
An ill prod for my ribs. 

2D Citizen. I am pushed and squeezed. 

My limbs are not mine own. 

3D Citizen. . Look this way, wife. 

They will come hence, — a pack of just-whipped curs. 
I warrant you the stiff-necked brutes repent 
To-day if ne'er before. 

Wife. I am all a-quiver. 

I have seen monstrous sights, — an uncaged wolf. 
The corpse of one sucked by a vampyre. 
The widow Kupfen's malformed child — but never 
Until this hour, a Jew. 

3D Citizen, D'ye call me Jew .' 

Where do you spy one now ? 

Wife. You'll have your jest 

Now or anon, what matters it ? 

4TH Citizen. , Well, I 

* Conclusion of service for Day of Atonement. 


Have seen a Jew, and seen one burn at that ; 
Ha.rd by in Wartburg ; he had killed a child. 
Zaunds ! how the serpent wriggled ! I smell now 
The roasting, stinkihg flesh 1 

Boy. v. Father, ^e these 

The folk who murdered Jesus ? 

4TH Citizen. Ay, my toy. 

Remember that, and when you hear them come, 
I'll lift you on my shoulders. You can fling 
Your pebbles with the rest. 

(Trumpets sbund.) 

Citizens. The Jews ! the Jews ! , 

Boy. Quick, father ! lift me ! I see nothing here 
But hose and skirts. 

(Music of a march approaching). 

Citizens. What mummery is this ? 
The sorcerers brew new mischief. 

Another Citizen. Why, they come 

Pranked for a holiday; not veiled for death. 

Another Citizen. Insolent braggarts ! Thjey defy the Christ ! 

(Enter in procession to music the Jews. First Rabbi Jacob — after.him, sick peo- 
ple carried on Utters — therl old men and women, followed promiscuously by men, 
women and children ot all ages. Some of the men carry gold and silver vessels, 
some the Rolls of the Law. One bears the Perpetual Lamp, another the seven- 
branched silver candle-stick of the Synagogue. The mothers have their children by 
the hand or in their arms. All richly attired .) 

Citizens. The misers ! they will take their gems and gold 
Down to the grave ! 

Citizen's Wife. So these be Jews ! Christ save us ! 
To think the devils look like human folk ! 

Citizens. Cursed be the poison-mixers ! Let them burn ! 

Citizens. Burn I burn ! 

(Enter Susskind von Orb, Liebhaid, Reuben and Claire.) 

Schnetzen. Good God ! what maid is that ? 

Tettenborn. Liebhaid von Orb. 

Schnetzen. The devil's trick ! 

He has bewitched mine eyes. 

Susskind {as he passei the platform?) Woe to the father 
Who murders his own child ! 

Schnetzen. I am avenged, 

Silsskind von Orb ! Blood for blood, fire for fire, 
And death for death I 

(Exeunt Sflsskind, Liebhaid, etc.) 
(Enter Jewish youths and maidens.) 

Youths {in chorus. ) Let us rejoice, for it is promised us 
That we shall enter in God's tabernacle ! 

M.A-IDENS. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Zion, 
Within thy portals, O Jerusalem ! 



Citizen's Wife, I can see naught from here. Let's follow, Hans. 

Citizen. Be satisfied. There is no inch of space 
For foot to rest on yonder. Look ! loqk there ! 
How the flames rise ! 

Boy. Oh father, I can see ! 

They all are dancing in the crimson blaze. 
Look how their garments wave, their jewels shine. 
When the smoke parts a bit. The tall flames dart. 
Is not the fire real fire ? They fear it not. 

Voices Without. Arise, oh house of Jacob. Let us walk 
Within the light of the Almighty Lord ! 

(Enter in furious haste Prince William and Nordmann.) 

Prince W. Respite I You kill your daughter, Henry Schnetzen ! 

Nordmann. Liebhaid von Orb is your own flesh and blood, 

Schnetzen. Spectre ! do dead men rise ? 

Nordmann. Yea, for revenge ! 

I swear. Lord Schnetzen, by my knightly honor. 
She who is dancing yonder to her death, 
Is thy wife's child ! 

(Schnetzen and Prinqe William make a rush forward towards the flames. > Music 
ceases; a sound of crashing boards is heard and a great cry — Hallelujah I 

Prince W. and Schnetzen. Too late 1 too late ! 

Citizens. All's done ! 

PRINrE W. The fire ! the fire ! Liebhaid. I come to thee. 

(He is about to spring forward but is held back by guards ) 
Schnetzen. Oh cruel Christ ! Is there no bolt in heaven 
For the child murderer .-' Kill me, my friends ! my breast 
Is bare to all your swords. 

(He tears openhis jerkin and falls unconscious.) 
(Curtain f^lls.) 


The plot and incidents of this Tragedy are taken from a little narrative entitled 
" Der Tanz zum Tode; ein Nachtsiiick aus dem vierzehnten Yahrhundert," ( The 
Dance lo Death— a- Night-piece of the fourteentli century,). By Richard Reinhp.rd. 
Compiled from: authentic documents communicated by Professor Franz Delitzsch. 

The original na'-rative thus disposes in conclusion of the principal characters: — 
'•The Knight Henry Schnetzen ended his curse-stricken life in a cloister of the strict- 
est order. 

'■ Herr Nordmann was placed in close confinement, and during the same year his 
head fell under the sword of the executioner. 

"Prince William returned, broken down with sorrow, to Eisenach. His princely 
father's heart found no comfort during the remainder of his days. He died soon 
after the murder of the Jews — his last words were, 'woe! the fire!' , 

"William reached an advanced age, but hislife was joyless. He never married,and 
at his death Meissen was inherited l^iy his nephew. 

"The Jewish cemetery in Nordhausen, the scene o'^ this martyrdom lay for a long 
time waste. Nobody would build upon it. Now it is a bleaching meadow, and 
whete once the flames sprang up, today rests peaceful sunshine." 





Not while the snow-shroud round dead earth is rolled, 
And naked branches point to frozen skies. — 

When orchards burn their lamps of fiery gold, 
The grape glows like a jewel, and the corn 

A sea ol beauty and abundance lies, 

Then the new year is born. 

Look where the mother of the months uplifts 
In the green clearness of the unsunned West, 

Her ivory horn of plenty, dropping gifts. 

Cool, harvest-feeding dews, fine-winnowed light; 

Tired labor with fruition, joy and rest 
Profusely to requite. 

Blow, Israel, the sacred cornet ! Call 

Back to thy courts whatever faint heart throb 

With thine ancestral blood, thy needxraves all. 
The red, dark year is dead, the year just born 

Leads on from anguish wrought by priest and mob, 
To what undreamed-of morn.'' 

For never yet, since on the holy height, 
The Temple's marble walls of white and green 

Carved like the sea-waves, fell, and the world's light 
Went out in darkness, — ^never was the year 

Greater, with portent and with promise seen, 
Than this eve now and here. 

Even as the Prophet promised, so your tent 
Hath been enlarged unto earth's farthest rim. 

To snow-capped Sierras from vast steppes ye went. 
Through fire and blood and tempest-tossing wave, 

For freedom to-proclaim and worship Him, 
Mighty to, slay and save. 

High above flood arid fire ye held the scroll, 
Out of the depths ye published still the Word. 

No bodily pang had power to swerve your soul : 
Ye, in a cynic age of crumbling faiths, 

Lived to bear witness to the living Lord, > 

Or died a thousand deaths. 

In two divided streams the exiles part. 

One roUing homeward to its ancient source, 

One rushing sunward with fresh will, new heart. 
By each the truth is spread, the law unfurled, 

Each separate soul contains the nation's force. 
And both embrace the world. 


Kindle the silver candle's seven rays, 

Offer the firstfruits of the clustered bowers, . 

The garnered spoil of bees. With prayer and praise 
Rejoice that once more tried, once more we prove 

How strength of supreme suffering still is ours 
For Truth and Law and Love. 


Across the .Eastern sky has glowed 
The flicker oi a blood-red dawn : 

Once more the clarion cock has crowed, 
Once more the sword of Christ is drawn. 

A million burning rooftrees light 

The world-wide path of Israel's flight. 

Where is the Hebrew's fatherland .■' 
The folk of Christ is sore bested ; 

The Son of Man is bruised and banned, 
Nor finds whereon to lay his head. 

His cup is gall, his meat is tears, 

His passion lasts a thousand years. 

Each crime that wakes in man the beast. 

Is visited upon his kind. 
The lust of mobs, the greed of priest, 

The tyranny of kings, combined 
To root his seed from earth again, 
His record is one cry of pain. 

When the long roll of Christian guilt 
Against his sires and kin is known, 

The flood of tears, the life-blood spilt. 
The agony of ages shown, 
' What oceans can the stain remove, 

From Christian law and Christian love.? 

Nay, close the book ; not now, not here,, 

The hideous tale of sin narrate, 
Reechoing in the martyr's ear, , 

Even he might nurse revengeful hate, 
Even he might turn in wrath sublime, 
Witii blood for blood and crime to;- crime. 

Coward.'' Not he, who faces death. 
Who singly against worlds has fought, 

For what.? A name he may not breathe 
For liberty of prayer and thought. 

The angry sword he will not whet, 

His nobler task is — to forget. 



"Since that day till now our life is one unbroken 
paradise. We live a true brotherly life, fivery even- 
ing after supper we take a seat under the mighty 
oak and sing our songs.— Extract from a letter of a 
Bansian refugee in Texas. 

Twilight is here, soft breezes bow the grass, 
Day's sounds of various toil break slowly off. 

The yoke- freed oxen low, the patient ass 
Dips his dry nostril in the cool, deep trough. 

Up from the prairie the tanned herdsmen pass 
With frothy pails, guiding with voices rough 

Their udder-lightened kine. Fresh smells of earth, 

The rich, black furrows of the glebe send forth. 

After the Southern day of heayy toil. 

How good to lie. with Jimbs relaxed, brows bare 

To evening's fan, and watch the ^moke-wreaths coil 
Up from one's pipe-stem through the rayless cCir. 

So deem these unused tillers of the soil, 

Who stretched beneath the shadowing oak tree, stare 

Peacefully on the star-unfolding skies. 

And name their life unbroken paradise. 

The hounded stag that has escaped the pack, 
And pants at ease within a thick-leaved dell; 

The unimprisoned bird that finds the track 

Through sun-bathed space, to where his fellows dwell; 

The martyr, granted respite from the rack. 

The death-doomed victim pardoned from his cell, — 

Such only know the joy these exiles gain, — 

Life's sharpest rapture is surcease of pain. 

Strange faces theirs, wherethrough the Orient sun 
Gleams from the eyes an-d glows athwart the skin. 

Grave lines of studious thought and purpose run 

f'rom curl-crowned forehead to dark-bearded chin. 

And over all the seal is stamped thereon 
Of anguish branded by a world of sin. 

In fire and blood through ages on their name. 

Their seal of glory and the Gentiles' shame. 

Freedom to love the law that Moses brought. 
To sing the songs of David, and to think 

The thoughts Gabirol to Spinoza taught, 
Freedonj to dig the common earth, to drink 

The universal air — for this they sought 
Refuge o'er wave and continent, to link 

Egypt with Texas in their mystic chain. 

And truth's perpetual lamp fcwbid to wane. 


Hark ! through the quiet evening air, their song 

Floats forth with wild, sweet rhythm and glad refrain. 

They sing the conquest of the spirit strong, 
The soul that wrests the victory from pain ; 

The noble joys of manhood that belong 

To comrades and to brothers. In their strain 

Rustle of palms and Eastern streams one hears. 

And the broad prairie melts in mist of tears. 



The golden harvest-tide is here, the corn 
Bows its proud 'tops beneath the reaper's hand. 
Ripe orchards' plenteous yields enrich the land; 
Bring the first fruits and offer them this morn, 
With the stored sweetness of all summer hours, 
The amber honey sucked from myriad flowers, 
And sacrifice your best, first fruits to-day. 
With fainting hearts and hands forespent with toil, 
Offer the mellow harvest's splendid spoil, 
To Him who gives and Him who takes away. 

Bring timbrels, bring the harp of sweet accord. 
And in a pleasant psalm your voice attune, 
And blow the cornet greeting the new moon. 
Sing, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord, 
Who kilieth and who quickeneth again, 
Who woundeth, and who healeth mortal pain. 
Whose hand afflicts us, and who sends us peace. 
Hail thou slim arc of promise in the West, 
Thou pledge of certain plenty, peace, and rest. 
With the spent year, may the year's sorrows cease. 

For there is mourning now in Israel, 

The crown, the garland of the branching tree 

Is plucked and withered. Ripe of years was he. 

The priest, the good old man who wrought so well 

Upon his chosen glebe. For he was one 

Who at his seed-plot toiled through rain and sun. 

Morn found him not as one who slumbereth, 

Noon saw him faithful, and the restful night 

Stole o'er him at his labors to requite 

The just man's service with the just man's death. 

What shall be said when such as he do pass.'' 
Go to the Jiill-side, neath the cypress-trees. 
Fall midst tliat peopled silence on your knees, 

•55 ■ 

And weep that man must wither as the grass. 
But mourn him not, whose blameless life complete 
Rounded its perfect orb, whose sleep is sweet, 
Whom we must follow, but may not recall. 
Salute with solemn trumpets the New Year, 
And offer honeyed fruits as were he here, 
Though ye be sick with wormwood and with gall. 



A brackish lake is there with bitter pools 
Anigh its margin, brushed by heavy trees. 

A piping wind the narrow valley cools, 
Fretting the willows and the cypresses. 

Gray skies above, and in the gloomy space 

An awful presence hath its dwelling-place. 

I saw a youth pass down that vale of tears; 

His head was circled with a crown of thorn, 
His form was bowed as by the weight of years, 

His wayworn feet by stones Were cut and torn. 
His eyes were such as have beheld the sword 
Of terror of the angel of the Lord. 

He passed, and clouds and shadows and thick haze 
Fell and encompassed him I might not see 

What hand upheld him in those dismal ways, 
Wherethrough he staggered with his misery. 

The creeping mists that trooped and spread around, 

The smitten head and writhing form enwound. 

Then slow and gradual but sure they rose, 
Those clinging vapors blotting out the sky. 

The youth had fallen not, his viewless foes 
Discomfited, had left the victory 

Unto the heart that fainted not nor failed, 

But from the hill tbps its salvation hailed. 

I looked at him in dread lest I should see, 
The anguish of the struggle in his eyes; 

And lo, great peace was there! Triumphantly 
The sunshine crowned him from the sacred skies. 

"From strength to strength he goes," he leaves beneath 

The valley of the shadow and of death. 

" Thrice blest who passing through that vale of Tears, 
Makes it £t well,"-— and draws life-nourishment 

56 . 

From those death-bitter drops. No grief, no fears 

Assail him further, he may scorn the event. 
For naught hath power to swerve the steadfast soul 
Within that valley broken and made whole. 


Wake, Israel, wake ! Recall to-day 

The glorious Maccabean rage, 
The sire heroic, hoary-gray, 

His five-fold lion-lineage : 
The Wise, the Elect, the Help-of-God, 

The Burst-of-Spring, the Avenging Rod. * 

From Mizpeh's mountain-ridge they saw 
Jerusalem's empty streets, her shrine 

Laid waste where Greeks profaned the Law, 
With idol and with pagan sign. 

Mourners in tattered black were there. 
With ashes sprinkled on tiieir hair. 

Then from the stony peak there rang 

A blast to ope the graves : down poured 

The Maccabean clan, who sang 
Their battle-anthem to the Lord. 

Five heroes lead, and following, see, 
Ten thousand rush to victory ! 

Oh for Jerusalem's trumpet now, 

To blow a blast of shattering power. 

To wake the sleepers high and low, 
And rouse them to the urgent hour ! 

No hand for vengeance— but to save, 
A million naked swords should wave. 

Oh deem not dead that martial fire, 

Say not the mystic flame is spent ! 
With Moses' law and David's lyre, 

Your ancient strength remains unbent. 
Let but an Ezra rise anew, 

To lift the Banner of the Jew ! 

A rag, a mock at first — erelong, 

When men have bled and women wept, 

To guard its precious folds from wrong, 

Even they who shrunk, even they who slept. 

Shall leap to bless it, and to save. 

Strike ! for the brave revere the brave ! 

* The sons of Mattathias — Jonathan, John, Eleazar, Simon 
(also called the Jewel), and Judas, the Prince. 



A curious title held in high repute, 

One among many honors, thickly strewn 

On my lord Bishop's head, his grace of Malta. 

Nobly he bears them all, — with tact, skill, zeal, 

Fulfills each special office, vast or slight, 

Nor slurs the least minutia,— therewithal 

Wears such a stately aspect of command. 

Broad cheeked, broad-chested, reverend, sanctified, 

Haloed with white about the tonsure's rim. 

With dropped lids o'er the piercing Spanish eyes 

(Lynx-keen, I warrant, to spy out heresy); 

Tall, massive form, o'ertowering all in presence, 

Or ere they kneel to kiss the large white hand. 

His looks sustain his deeds, — the. perfect prelate, , 

Whose void chair shall be taken, but not filled. 

You know not, who are ioreign to the isle. 
Haply, what this Red Disk may be, he guards. 
'Tis the bright blotch, big as the Royal seal. 
Branded beneath the beard of every Jew. 
These vermin so infest the isle, so slide 
Into all byways, highways that may lead 
Direct or roundabout to wealth or power. 
Some plain, plump mark was needed, to protect 
From the degrading contact Christian folk. 

The evil had grbwn monstrous : certain Jews 
Wore such a haughty air, had so refined. 
With super-subtile arts, strict, monkish lives. 
And studious habit, the coarse Hebrew type, 
One might have elbowed in the pubhc mart 
Iscariot, — nor suspected one's soul-peril. 
Christ's blood ! it sets my flesh a creep to think ! 
We may breathe freely now, not fearing taint, 
Praised be our good Lord Bishop ! He keeps count 
Of every Jew, and prints on cheek or chin 
The scarlet stamp of separateness, of shame. 

No beard, blue-black, grizzled or Judas-colored, 
May hide that damning little wafer-flame. 
When one appears therewith, the urchins know 
Good sport's at hand; they fling their stones and mud. 
Sure of their game. But most the wisdom, shows 
Upon the unbelievers' selves ; they learn 

58 • 

Their proper rank ; crouch, cringe and hide, — lay by 
Their insolence of self-esteem ; no more 
Flaunt forth in rich attire, but in dull weeds, 
Slovenly donned, would slink past unobserved; 
Bow servile necks and crook obsequious knees. 
Chin sunk in hollow chest, eyes fixed on earth 
Or blinking sidewise, but to apprehend 
Whether or not the hated spot be spied. 
I warrant my lord Bishop has full hands. 
Guarding the Red Disk-^lest one rogue escape ! 



(from the GERMAN OF HEINE). 

In the evening through her garden 

Wanders the Alcalde's daughter, 
P'estal sounds of drum and trumpet 

Ring out hither from the Castle. 

" I am weary of the dances, 

Honeyed word of adulation' 
From the knights who still compare me 

To the sun with dainty^phrases. 

Yes, of all things I am weary, 

Since I first beheld by moonlight 
Him, my cavalier, whose zither 

Nightly draws me to my casement. 

As he stands so slim and daring. 
With his flaming eyes that sparkle. 

And with nobly' pallid features 
Truly, he St. George resembles." 

Thus went Donna Clara dreaming. 

On the ground her eyes were fastened. 

When she raised them, lo ! before her 
Stood the handsome knightly stranger. 

Pressing hands and whispering passion. 
These twain wander in the moonlight. 

Gently doth the breeze caress them. 
The e'nchanted roses greet them. 


The enchanted roses greet them, 

And they glow like Love's own heralds. 

" Tell me, tell me, my beloved, 

Wherefore all at once thou blushest ? " 

" Gnats were stinging me, my darling. 
And I hate these gnats in summer 

E'en as though they were a rabble 

Of vile Jews with long, hooked noses." 

" Heed n.ot gnats nor Jews, beloved," 
Spake the knight with fond endearments. 

From the almond trees dropped downward 
Myriad snowy flakes of blossoms. 

Myriad snowy flakes of blossoms 
Shed around them fragrant odorj. 

"Tell me, tell me, my beloved. 

Looks thy heart on me with favor ? " 

" Yes, I love thee, O my darling, 

And I swear it by our Savior, 
Whom the accursed Jews did murder, 

Long ago with wicked malice." 

" Heed thou neither Jews nor Savior," . 

Spake the knight with fond endearments. 
Far off" waved as in a vision. 

Gleaming lilies bathed in moohlight. 

Gleaming lilies bathed in moonlight 
Seemed to watch the stars above them. 

"Tell, me, tell me, my beloved. 

Didst thou not erewhile swear falsely .'' '' 

" Naught is false in me, my darling. 
E'en as in my veins there floweth 

Not a drop of blood that's Moorish, 
Neither of foul Jewish current." 

" Heed not Moors nor Jews, beloved," 
Spake the knight with fond endearments. 

Then towards a»grove of myrtles 
Leads he tlie Alcalde's daughter. 

And with Love's slight subtile meshes, 
He has trapped her and entangled. 

Brief their words, but long their kisses, 
For their hearts are overflowing. 

What a melting bridal carol 
Sings the nightingale, the pure one. 

How the fire-flies in the grasses 

Trip their sparkHng torchlight dances ! 


In the grove the silence deepens, 

Naught is heard save furtive rustUng 

Of the swaying myrtle branches, 
And the breathing of the flowers. 

But the sound of drum and trumpet 
Burst forth sudden from the castle. 

Rudely they awaken Clara, 

Pillowed on her Lover's bosom. 

" Hark! they summon me, my darling ! 

But before we part, oh tell me. 
Tell me what thy precious name is. 

Which so closely thou hast hidden." 

Then the knight with gentle laughter. 

Kissed the fingers of his Donna, 
Kissed her lips and kissed her forehead, 

And at last these words he uttered : 

" I, -Senora, your beloved. 

Am the son of the respected. 
Worthy, erudite Grand Rabbi, 
Israel of Saragossa." 

(The ensemble of the romance is a scene of my own life — only the 
Park of Berlin has becortie the Alcalde's garden, the Baroness a 
Senora, and myself a St. George or even an Apollo. This was on- 
ly to be the first part of a trilogy, the second of which shows the 
hero jeered at by his own child who does not know him, whilst the 
third discovers this child who has become a Dominican, and is 
torturing to the death his Jewish brethren. The refrain of these 
two pieces corresponds with that of the first. Indeed this little 
poem was not intended to excite laughter, still less to denote a 
mocking spirit. I merely wished without any definite purpose to 
render with epic impartiality in this poem an individual circum- 
stance, and at the same time something general and universal — a 
moment in the world's history which was distinctly reflected in my 
experience, and I had conceived the whole idea in a spirit which 
was anything rather than smiling, but serious and painful, so much 
so, that it was to form the first part of a tragic trilogy. 

Heine's Correspondence. 

Guided by these hints, I have endeavored to carry out in the 
two following original Kallads the Poet's first conception. 

Emma Lazarus.) 



Not a lad in Saragossa 

Nobler-featured, haughtier-tempered, 
Then the Alcalde's youthful grandson, 

Donna Clara's boy Pedrillo. 

Handsome as the Prince of Evil, 

And devout as St. Ignatius. 
Deft at fence, unmatched with zither, 

Miniature of knightly virtues. 

Truly an unfailing blessing, 
To his pious, widowed mother. 

To the beautiful, lone matron 

Who forswore the world to rear him. 

For her beauty hath but ripened 
In such wise as the pomegranate 

I'utteth by her crown of blossoms, 
For her richer crown of fruitage. 

Still her hand is claimed and courted. 
Still she spurns her proudest suitors, 

Doting on a phantom passion, 
And upon her boy Pedrillo. 

Like a saint lives Donna Clara, 
First at matins, last at vespers. 

Half her fortune she expendeth 
Buying masses for the needy. 

Visiting the poor afflicted. 

Infinite is her compassion. 
Scorning not the Moorish beggar, 

Nor the wretched Jew despising. 

And — a scandal to the faithful. 

E'en she hath been kno\ welcome 

To her castle the young Rabbi, 
Offering to his tribe her bounty. 

Rarely hath he crossed the threshold. 
Yet the thought that he hath crossed it. 

Burns like poison in the marrow 
Of the zealous youth Pedrillo. 

By the blessed Saint lago. 

He hath vowed immortal hatred 

To these circumcised intruders 
Who pollute^the soil of Spaniards. 


Seated in his mother's garden, 

At high noon the boy Pedrilio 
Playeth with his favorite parrot, 

Golden-green with streaks of scarlet. 

" Pretty Dodo, speak thy lesson," 

Coaxed Pedrilio — "thief and traitor" — 

" Thief and traitor " — croaked the parrot, 
"Is the yellow-skirted Rabbi." 

And the boy with peals of laughter, 
Stroked his favorite's head of emerald. 

Raised his eyes, and lo! before him 
Stood the yellow-skirted Rabbi. 

In his dark eyes gleamed no anger, 
No hot flush o'erspread his features. 

'Neath his beard his pale lips quivered, 
And a shadow crossed his forehead. 

Very gentle was his aspect. 

And his voice was mild and friendly, 
" Evil words, my son, thou speakest. 

Teaching to the fowls of heaven. 

" In our Talmud it stands written. 
Thrice curst is the tongue of slander, 

Poisoning also with its victim. 

Him who speaks and him who listens." 

But no whit abashed, Pedrilio, > 

" What care I for curse of Talmud.' 

'Tis no slander to speak evil 
Of the murderers of our Savior. 

"To your beard I will repeat it. 
That I only bide my manhood. 

To wreak all my lawful hatred, 
On thyself and on thy people." 

Very gently spoke the Rabbi, 
"Have a care, my son Pedrilio, 

Thou art orphaned, and who knoweth, 
But thy father loved this people.'" 

"Think you words like these will touch me.' 
Such I laugh to scorn, sir Rabbi, 

From high heaven, my sainted father 
On my deeds will smile in blessing. 

'■ Loyal knight wa? he and noble. 

And my mother oft assures me, 
Ne'er she saw so pure a Christian, 

'Tis from him my zeal deriveth." 


"What if he were such another 

As myself who stand before thee?" 

" I should curse the hour that bore me, 
I should die of shame and horror." 

" Harsher is thy creed than ours; 

For had I a son as comely 
As Pedrillo, I would love him, 

Love him were he thrice a Christian. 

" In his youth my youth renewing 
Pamper, fondle, die to serve him, 

Only breathing through his spirit — 
Couldst thou not love such a father?" 

Faltering spoke the deep-voiced Rabbi, 
With white lips and twitching fingers. 

Then in clear, young, steady treble, 
Answered him the boy Pedrillo: 

" At the thought my heart revolteth, 
AH your tribe offend my senses, 

They're an eyesore to my vision, 
And a stench unto my nostrils. , 

" When I meet these unbelievers, 
With thick lips and eagle noses, 

Thus I scorn them, thus revile them. 
Thus I spit upon their garment." 

And the haughty youth passed onward. 
Bearing on his wrist his parrot, 

And the yellow skirted Rabbi 

With bowed head sought Donna Clara. 


Golden lights and lengthening shadows. 
Flings the splendid sun declining, 

O'er the monastery garden 

Rich in flower, fruit and foliage. 

Through the avenue of nut trees. 
Pace two grave and ghostly friars, 

Snowy white their gowns and girdles, 
Black as night their cowls and mantles. 

Lithe and ferret-eyed the younger, 

Bfack his scapular denoting 
A lay brother; his companion 

Large, imperious, towers above him. 


'Tisthe abbot, great Fra'Pedro, 
Famous through all Saragossa, 

For his quenchless zeal in crushing 
Heresy amidst his townfolk. 

Handsome still with hood and tonsure, 
E'en as when the boy Pedrillo, 

Insolent with youth and beauty, 
Who reviled the gentle Rabbi. 

Lo, the level sun strikes sparkles, 

From his dark eyes brightly flashing, 

Stern his voice: " These too shall perish, 
I have vowed extermination. 

" Tell not me of skill or virtue, 

Filial love or woman's beauty. 
Jews are Jews, as serpents serpents, 

In themselves abomination." 

Earnestly the other pleaded, 

" If my zeal, thrice reverend master. 

E'er afforded thee assistance. 
Serving thee as flesh serves spirit. 

" Hounding, scourging, flaying, burning. 

Casting into chains or exile. 
At thy bidding these vile wretches, 

Hear and heed me now, my master. 

"These be nowise like their brethren, 

Ben Jehudah is accounted 
Saragossa's first physician. 
Loved by colleague as by patient. 

" And his daughter Donna Zara 

Is our city's pearl of beauty, 
Like the clusters of the^ vineyard, 

Droop the ringlets o'er her temples 

" Like the moon in starry heavens. 
Shines her face among her people, 

And her form hath all the languor, 
Grace and glamour of the palm tree. 

"Well thou knowest, thrice reverend master, 

This is not their first affliction, 
Was it not our holy office. 

Whose bribed menials fired their dwelling? 

" Ere dawn broke, the smoke ascended. 
Choked the stairways, filled the chambers. 

Waked the hpusehold to the terror 
Of the flaming death that threatened. 


" Then the poor bed ridden mother 

Knew hfer hour had come; two daughters, 

Twinned in form, and mind, and spirit, 

And their father — who would save them? 

'■ Towards her door sprang Ben Jehudah, 

Donna Zara flew behind him. 
Round his neck her. white arms wreathing, 

Dfew him from the burning chamber. 

■' There within, her sister Zillah 
Stirred no limb to shun her torture. 

Held her mother's hand and kissed her, 
Saying, ' We will go together.' 

"This the outer throng could witness, 
ASi the flames enwound the dwelling, 

Like a glory they illtimined 

Awfully the martyred daughter. 

" Closer, fiercer, round they gathered, 

Not a natural cry escaped her, 
Helpless clung to her her mother, 

Hand in hand they went together. 

" Since that ' Act of Faith ' three winters 
Have rolled by, yet on the forehead 

Of Jehudah is imprinted 

Still the horror of that morning. 

" Saragossa hath respected 

His false creed; a man of-sorrows, 

He hath walked secure among us, 
And his art repays our sufferance." 

Thus he spoke and ceased. The Abbot 

Lent him an impatient hearing. 
Then outbroke with angry accent, 

" We have borne three years, thou sayest.' 

" ' Tis enough; my vow is sacred. 

These shall perish with their brethren. 
Hark ye! In ihy veins' pure current 

Were a single drop found Jewish, 

" I would shrink not from outpouring 
All my life blood, but to purge it. 

Shall I gentler prove to others.' 
Mercy would be sacrilegious. 

'•Ne'er again at thy soul's peril. 

Speak to me of Jewish beauty, 
Jewish skill, or JewisH virtue. 

I have said.— Do thou remember." 


Down behind the purple hillside 
Dropped the sun; above the garden 

Rang the Angelus' clear cadence 
Summoning the monks to vespers. 



Solomon ben Judah Gabirol. 
(Died between 1070-80.) 

•' Am I sipping the honey of the lips? \ 

Am I drunk with the wine_ of a kiss.' 
Have I culled the flowers of the cheek, 
Have ' sucked the fresh fragrance of the breath? 
Nay, it is the Song of Gabirol that has revived me, 
The perfume of his youthful, spring-tide breeze." 

Moses ben E.sra. 

" I will engrave my songs indelibly upon the heart of the world, 
so that no one can efface tnem.' 



Will night already spread her wings and weave 

Her dusky robe about the day's bright form, 

Boldly the sun's fair countenance displacing. 

And swathe it with her shadow in broad day.? 

So a green wreath of mist enrings the moon. 

Till envious clouds do quite encompass her. 

No wind! and yet the slender stem is stirred. 

With faint, slight motion as from inward tremor. 

Mine eyes are full of grief — who sees me, asks, 

"Oh wherefore dost thou cling unto the ground?" 

My friends discourse with sweet and soothing words; 

They all are vain, they glide above my head. 

I fain would check my tears; would fain enlarge 

Unto infinity, my _heart— in vain! 

Grief presses hard my breast, therefore my tears 

Have scarcely dried, ere they again spring forth. 

For these are streams, no furnace heat may quench, 

Nebuchadnezzar's flames may dry them not. 

What is the pleasure of the day for me. 

If, in its crucible, I must renew 

Incessantly the pangs of purifying.? 

Up, challenge, wrestle, and o'ercome! Be strong! 


The late grapes cover all the vin^ with fruit, 
lam not glad, though even the lion's pride 
Content itself upon the field's poor grass. 
My spirit sinks beneath the tide, soars not 
With fluttering seamews on the moist, soft strand. 
I follow fortune not, where'er she lead. 
Lord o'er myself, I banish her, compel 
And though her clouds should rain no blessed dew, 
Though she withhold the crown, the heart's desire, 
Though all deceive, though honey change to gall, 
Still am I lord, and will in freedom strive. 


Forget thine anguish, 

Vexed heart, again. « 
Why shouldst thou languish, 

With earthly pain.? 
The husk shall slumber. 

Bedded in clay 
Silent and sombre. 

Oblivion's prey! 
But, Spirit immortal. 
Thou at Death's portal, 
' Tremblest with fear. 

If he caress thee, 

Curse thee or bless thee, ; 

Thou must draw near. 
From him the worth of thy works to hear. 

Why full of terror. 

Compassed with error, 

Trouble thy heart. 

For thy mortal part.? 

The soul flies home — 

The corpse is dumb. 

Of all thou didst have, 
Follows naught to the grave. 

Thou fliest thy nest. 
Swift as a bird to thy place of rest. 

What avail grief and fasting, 
Where nothing is lasting.? 
Pomp, domination, 
Become tribulation. 
In a health-giving draught, 
A death-dealing .shaft. 
Wealth — an illusion, 
Power — a lie. 


Over all, dissolution 
Creeps silent and sly. 
Unto others remain 
The goods thou didst gain 
With infinite pain. 

Life is a vine-branch; 

A vintager/death. 
He threatens and lowers 

More near with each breath. 
Then hasten, arise! 

Seek God, oh my soul! 
For time quickly flies, 

Still far is the goal. 
Vain heart praying dumbly. 

Learn to prize humbly, 

The meanest of fare. 
Forget all thy sorrow, 

Behold, Death is there! 

Dove-like lamenting, 

Be full of repenting, 
Lift vision supernal 
To raptures eternal. 

On ev'ry occasion 

Seek lasting salvation. / 

Pour thy heart out in weeping, 
While others^ are sleeping. 
Pray to Him when all's still. 
Performing His will. 

And so shall the angel of peace be thy warden. 
And guide thee at last to the heavenly garden. 


Almighty! what is man.? 

But flesh and blood. 
Like shadows flee his days, 
He marks not how they vanish from his gaze, 

Suddenly, he must die — 
He droppeth. stunned, into nonentity. 

Almighty! what is man.' 

A body frail and weak. 

Full of deceit and lies, 

Of vile hypocrisies. 
Now like a flower blowing, 
Now scorched by sunbeams glowing. 
And wilt thou of his trespasses inquire.'' 

How may he ever bear 


Thine anger just, thy vengeance dire? 

~ Punish him not, but spare. 

For he is void of power and strength ! 

Almighty! what is man? 

By filthy,lust possessed, 
Whirled in a round of lies, 

Fond frenzy swells his breast. 
The pure man sinks in mire and slime, 
The noble shrinketh not from crime. 
Wilt thou resent on him the charms of sin? 

Like fading grass. 

So shall he pass. 

Like chaff that blows 

Where the wind goes. 
Then spare him, be thou merciful, O King, 
Upon the dreaded day of reckoning! 

Almighty! what is man? 

The haughty son of time 

£)rinks deep of sin, 
And feeds on crime 
Seething like waves, that roll. 
Hot as a glowing coal. 
And wilt thou punish him for sins inborn? 

Lost and forlorn, 
Then like the weakling he must fall, 
Who some great hero strives withal. 
Oh, spare him, therefore! let him win 

Grace for his sin! 

Almighty! what is man? 

Spotted in guilty wise, 

A stranger unto faith, 

Whose tongue is stained with lies. 
And shalt thou count his sins — so is he lost, 

Uprooted by thy breath. 
Like to a stream by tempest tossed. 
His life falls from him like a cloak. 
He passes into nothingness, hke smoke. 
Then spare him, punish not, be kind, I pray, 
To him who dwelleth in the dust, an image wrought in clay! 

Almighty! what is man? 

A withered bou^h! 
When he is awestruck by approaching doom, 
Like a dried blade of grass, so weak, so low 
The pleasure of his life is changed to gloom. 
He crumbles like a garment spoiled with moth; 


According to his sins wilt thou be wroth? 
He melts like wax before the candle's breath, 
Yea, like thin water, so he vanisheth, 
Oh, spare him therefore, for thy gracious name, 
And be not too severe upon his shame! 

Almighty! what is man? 
A faded leaf! 
If thou dost weigh him in the balance — lo! 
He disappears — a breath that thou dost blow. 

His heart is ever filled 
With lust of lies unstilled. 

Wilt bear in mind his crime 

Unto all time? 
He fades away like clouds sun-kissed, 

Dissolves like mist. 
Then spare him! let him love and mercy win, 
According to thy grace, and not -according to his sin! 


The Autumn promised, and he keeps 

His wo»»d unto the meadow-rose. 

The pure, bright ligntnings herald Spring, 

Serene and glad the fresh earth shows. 

The rain has quenched her children's, thirst, 

Her cheeks, but now so cold and dry. 

Are soft and fair, a laughing face; 

With clouds of purple shines the sky. 

Though filled with light, yet veiled with haze. 

Hark! hark! the turtle's mocking note 

Outsings the valley-pigeon's lays. 

Her wings are gemmed, and from her throat, 

When the clear sun gleams back again, 

It seems to me as though she wore 

About her neck ajeweled chain. 

Say, wilt thou darken such a light. 

Wilt drag the clouds from heaven's height? 

Although thy heart with anger swell, 

Yet firm as marble, mine doth dwell. 

Therein no fear thy wrath begets. 

It is not shaken by thy threats. 

Yea, hurl thy darts, thy weapons wield. 

The strength of yguth is still my shield. 

My winged steed toward the heights doth bound, 

The dust whirls upward from the ground; 

My song is scanty, dost thou deem 

Thine eloquence a mighty stream? 

Only the blameless offering, 


Not the profusion man may bring, 
Prevaileth with our Lord and King. 
The long days out of minutes grow, 
And out of months the years arise, 
Wilt thou be master of the wise. 
Then learn the hidden stream to know, 
Tliat from the inmost heart doth flow. 


My friend spoke with insinuating tongue: 

" Drink wine, and thy flesh shall be made whole. 
Look how it hisses in the leathern bottle like a 
captured serpent." 
Oh fool! can the sun be forged into a cask stopped 
with earthly bungs. I know not that the power 
of wine has ever overmastered my sorrows; for 
these mighty giants I have found as yet no resting- 


" With tears thy grief thou dost bemoan. 
Tears that would melt the hardest stone. 
Oh, wherefore sing'st thou not the vine.' 
Why chant'st thou not the praise of wine.? 
It chases pain with cunning art, 
The craven slinks from out thy heart." 

But I: Poor fools the wine may cheat, 
Lull them with lying visions sweet. 
Upon the wings of atorm may bear 
The heavy burden of their care. 
The father's heart may harden so, ' 
He feeleth not his own child's woe. 

No ocean is the cup, no sea. 
To drown my broad, deep misery. 
It grows so rank, you cut it all. 
The aftermath springs just as tall. 
My heart and flesh are worn away, 
Mine eyes are darkened from the day. 

The lovely morning-red behold ^ 

Wave to the breeze her flag of gold. 

The hosts of stars above the world, 

Like banners vanishing are furled. 

The dew shines bright; I bide forlorn, 

And shudder with the chill of morn. 



With heavy groans did I approach my friends, 

Heavy as though the mountains I would move. 

The flagon they were murdering; they poured 

Into the cup, wild-eyed, the grape's red blood. 

No, they killed not, they breathed new life therein. 

Then, too, in fiery rapture, burned my veins, 

But soon the fumes had fled. In vain, in vain! 

Ye cannot fill the breach of the rent heart. 

Ye crave a sensuous joy; ye strive in vain 

To cheat with flames of passion, my despair. 

So when the sinking sun draws near to night, 

The sky's bright cheeks fade 'neath those tresses black. 

Ye laugh— but silently the soul uveeps on; 

Ye cannot stifle her sincere lament. 


" Conquer the gloomy night of thy sorrow,' for the 

morning greets thee with laughter. 
Rise and clothe thyself with noble pride 
Break loose from the tyranny of grief, 
Thbu standest alone among men, 
Thy song is like a pearl in beauty." 

So spake my friend. 'Tis well ! 

The billows of the stormy sea which overwhelmed my 

soul,- — 
These I subdue ; I quake not 
Before the bow and arrow of destiny. 
I endured with patience when he deceitfully lied to me 
With his treacherous smile. 

Yea, boldly I defy Fate, 

I cringe not to envious Fortune. 

I mock the towering floods. 

My brave heart does not shrink — 

This heart of mine, that, albeit young in years. 

Is none the less rich in deep, keen-eyed experience. 


Where is the man who has been tried and found strong 

and sound .■" 
Where is the friend of reason and of knowledge .'' 
I see only sceptics and weaklings. 
I see only prisoners in the durance of the senses. 
And every fool and every spendthrift 
Thinks himself as great a master as Aristotle. 


Think'st thou that they have written poems ? 

Call'st thou that a Song ? 

I call it the cackling of ravens. 

The zeal of the prophet must free poesy 

From the embrace of wanton youths. 

My song I have inscribed on the forehead of Time, 

They know and hate it — for it is lofty. 

Abul Hassan Judah ben Ha-Levi. 

(born between 1080-90.) 

" See'st thou o'er my shoulders falling, 
Snake-like ringlets waving free .? 

Have no fear, for they are twisted 
To allure thee unto me." 

Thus she spake, the gentle dove, 
Listen to thy plighted love : — 

"Ah, how long I wait, until 
Sweetheart cometh back (she said) 

Laying his caressing hand 

Underneath my burning head." 


And so we twain must part ! Oh linger yet. 
Let me still feed my glance upon thine eyes. 

Forget not, love, the days of our delight, 
And I our nights of bliss shall ever prize. 

In dreams thy shadowy image I shall see, 
Oh even in my dream be kind to me ! 

Though I were dead, I none the less would hear 
Thy step, thy garment rustling on the sand. 

And if thou waft me greetings from the grave, 
I shall drink deep the breath of that cold land. 

Take thou my days, command this Hfe of niine. 
If it can lengthen out the space of thine. 

No voice I hear from lips death-pale and chill, 
Yet deep within my heart it echoes still. 

My frame remains — my soul to thee yearns forth. 
A shadow I must tarry still on earth. 

Back to the body dwelling here in pain. 

Return, my soul, make haste and come again ! 



Oh, city of the world, with sacred splendor blest, 
My spirit yearns to thee from out the far-off West, 
A stream of love wells forth when I recall thy day, 
Now is thy temple waste, thy glory passed away. 
Had I an eagle's wings, straight would I fly to thee. 
Moisten thy holy dust with wet cheeks streaming free. 
Oh, how I long for thee ! albeit thy King has gone. 
Albeit where balm once flowed, the serpent dwells alone. 
Could I but kiss thy dust, so would I fain expire. 
As sweet as honey then, my passion, my desire ! 


My two-score years and ten are over. 

Never again shall youth be mine. 
The years are ready-winged for flying. 

What crav'st thou still of feast and wine? 
Wilt thou still court man's acclamation, 

Forgetting what the Lord hath said .■' 
And forfeiting thy weal eternal, 

By thine own guilty heart misled .'' 
Shalt thou have never done with folly. 

Still fresh and new must it arise ? 
Oh heed it not, heed not the senses, 

But follow God, be meek and wise; 
Yea, profit by thy days remaining. 

They hurry swiftly tq the goal. 
Be zealous in the Lord's high service. 

And banish falsehood from thy soul. 
Use all thy strength, use all thy fervor. 

Defy thine own desires, awaken ! 
Be not afraid when seas are foaming. 

And earth to her foundations shaken. 
Benumbed the hand then of the sailor. 

The captain's skill and power are lamed. 
Gaily they sailed with colors flying, 

And now turn home again ashamed. 
The ocean is our only refuge, 

The sandbank is our only goal, 
The masts are swaying as with terror. 
And quivering does the vessel roll. 
The mad wind frolics with the billows. 

Now smooths them low, now lashes high. 
Now they are storming up like lions, 
And now like serpents sleek they lie; 


And wave on wave is ever pressing, 

They hiss, they whisper, soft of tone. 
Alack ! was that tlie vessel splitting ? 

Are sail and mast and rudder gone ? 
Here, screams of fright, there, silent weeping, 

The bravest feels his courage fail. 
What stead our prudence or our wisdo m.'' 

The soul itself can naught avail. 
And each one to his God is crying, 
Soar up, my soul, to Him aspire, 
Who wrought a miracle for Jordan, 

Extol Him, oh angelic choir ! 
Remember Him who stays the tempest, 

The stormy billows doth control, 
Who quickeneth the Hfeless body, 

And fillT the empty frame with soul. 
Behold ! once more appears a wonder. 

The angry waves erst raging wild, 
Like quiet flocks of sheep reposing, 

So soft, so still, so gently mild. 
The sun descends, and high in heaven, 
The golden-circled moon doth stand. 
Within the sea the stars are straying, 

Like wanderers in an unknown land. 
The lights celestial in the waters 

Are flaming clearly as above, 
As though the very heavens descended, 

To seal a covenant of love. 
Perchance both sea and sky, twin oceans. 

From the same source of grace are sprung. 
'Twixt these my heart, a third sea, surges. 
With songs resounding, clearly sung. 

A watery waste the sinful world has grown, 
'With no dry spot whereon the eye can rest, 
No man, no beast, no bird to gaze upon. 
Can all be deajd, with silent sleep possessed .'' 
Oh, how I long the hills and vales to see, 
To find myself on barren steppes were bliss. 
I peer about, but nothing greeteth me. 
Naught save the ship, the clouds, the waves' abyss, 
The crocodile which rushes from the deeps; 
The flood foams gray; the whirling waters reel. 
Now like its prey whereon at last it sweeps, 
The ocean swallows up the vessel's keel. 
The billows rage — exult, oh soul of mine, 
Soon shalt thou enter the Lord's sacred shrine ! 




Oh West, how fragrant breathes thy gentle air, 
Spikenard and aloes on thy pinions glide. 
Thou blow'st from spicy chambers, not from there 
Where angry winds and tempests fierce abide. 
As on a bird's wings thou dost waft me home. 
Sweet as a bundle of rich myrrh to me. 
And after thee yearn all the throngs that roam 
And furrow with light keel the rolling sea. 
Desert her not — our ship — bide with her oft, 
When the day sinks and in the morning light. 
Smooth thou the deeps and make the billows soft, 
Nor rest save at our goal, the sacred height. 
Chide thou the East that chafes the raging flood. 
And swells the towering surges wild and rude. 
What can I do, the elements' poor slave ? 
Now do they hold me fast, now leave me free ; 
Cling to the Lord, my soul, for He will save. 
Who caused the mountains and the winds to be. 

Moses ben Esra. 

(about 1100.) 



The shadow of the houses leave bdhind, 
In the cool boscage of the grove reclined 
The wine of friendship from love's" goblet drink, 
And entertain with cheerful speech the mind. 

Drink, friend ! behold, the dreary winter's gone. 
The mantle of old age has time withdrawn. 
The sunbeam glitters in the morning dew. 
O'er hill and vale youth's bloom is surging on. 

Cup-bearer ! quench with snow the goblet's, fire , 
Even as the wise man cools and stills his ii-e. 
Look, when the jar is drained, upon the brim 
The light foam melteth with the heart's desire. 

Cup-bearer ! bring anear the silver bowl. 
And with the glowing gold fulfil the whole, 
Unto the weak new vigor it imparts. 
And without lance subdues the hero's soul. 


My love sways, dancing, like the myrtle-tree, 
The masses of her curls disheveled, see ! 
She kills me with her darts, intoxicates 
My burning blood, and will not set me free. 

Within the aromatic garden come. 

And slowly in its shadows let us roam. 

The foliage be the turban for our brows, 

And the green branches o'er our heads a dome. 

All pain thou with the goblfet shalt assuage, 
The wine-cup heals the sharpest pangs that rage, 
Let others crave inheritance of wealth, 
Joy be our portion and our heritage. 

Drink in the garden, friend, anigh the rose. 
Richer than spice's breath the soft air blows. 
If it should cease a little traitor then, 
A zephyr light its secret would disclose. 


Thou who art clothed in silk, who drawest on 
Proudly thy raiment of fine linen spun. 
Bethink thee of the day when thou alone 
Shalt dwell at last beneath the marble stone. 

Anigh the nests of adders thine abode, 
With the earth-crawling serpent and the toad. 
Trust in the Lord, He will sustain thee there. 
And without fear thy soul shall rest with God. 

If the world flatter thee with soft-voiced art, 
Know ' tis a cunning witch who charms thy heart, 
Whose habit is to wed man's soul with grief, 
And those who are close-bound in love to part. 

He who bestows his wealth upon the poor, 
Has only lent it to the Lord, be sure — 
Of what avail to clasp it with clenched hand ? 
It goes not with us to the grave obscure. 

The voice of those who dwell within the tomb, 
Who in corruption's house have made their home ; 
•' Oh ye who wander o'er us still to-day, 
When will ye come to share with us the gloom ?" 

How can'st thou ever of the world complain, 
And murmuring, burden it with all thy pain > 
Silence ! thou art a traveler at an inn, 
A guest, who may but over night remain. 


Be thou not wroth against the proud, but show 
How he who yesterday great joy did know, 
To-day is begging for his very bread, 
And painfully upon a crutch must go. 

How foolish they whose faith is fixed upon 
The treasures of their worldly wealth alone, 
Far wiser were it to obey the Lord, 
And only say, " the will of God be done 1 " 

Has Fortune smiled on thee ? Oh do not trust 
Her reckless joy, she still deceives and iriust. 
Perpetual snares she spreads about thy feet. 
Thou shalt not rest till thou art mixed with dust. 

Man is a weaver on the e^rth, 'tis said, 

Who weaves and weaves — his own days are the thread. 

And when the length allotted he hath spun, 

All life is over and all hope is dead. 


Unto the hou,se of prayer my spirit yearns, 
Unto the sources of her being turns. 
To where the sacred light of heaven burns. 
She struggles thitherward by day and night. 

The splendor of God's glory blinds her eyes. 
Up without wings she soareth to the skies, 
With silent aspiration seeks to rise. 
In dusky evening and in darksome night. 

To her the wonders of God's 'works appear. 
She longs with fervor Him to draw anear. 
The tidings of His glory reach her ear. 
From morn to even, and from night to night. 

The banner of thy grace did o'er me rest,. 
Yet was thy worship banished from my breast. 
Almighty, thou didst seek me out and test 
To try and to instruct me in the night. 

J dare not idly on my pillow lie. 
With winged feet to the shrine I fain would fly, 
When chained by leaden slumbers heavily, 
Men rest in imaged shadows, dreams of night. 

Infatuate I trifled youth away. 

In nothingness dreamed through m.y manhood's day. 

Therefore my streaming tears I may, not stay, 

They are my meat and drink by day and night. 


In flesh imprisoned is the son of light, 
This life is but a bridge when seen aright. 
Rise in the silent hour and praj' with might, 
Awake and call upon thy God by night ! 

Hasten to cleanse thyself of sin, arise 1 
Follow Truth's path 'that leads unto the skies, 
As swift as yesterday existence flies. 
Brief even as a watch within the night. 

Man enters life for trouble ; all he has, 
And all that he beholds, is pain, alas ! 
Like to a flower does he bloom and pass, 
He fadeth like a vision of the Aight. 

The surging floods of life around him roar, 
Death- feeds upon him, pity is no more. 
To others all his riches he gives o'er, 
And dieth in the middle hour of night. 

Crushed by the burden of my sins I pray, 
Oh, wherefore shunned I not the ev*!! way ? 
Deep are my sighs, I weep the livelong day, 
And wet my couch with tears night after night. 

My spirit stirs, my streaming tears still run, 
Like to the wild birds' notes my sorrows' tone. 
In the hushed silence loud resounds my groan, 
My soul arises moaning in the night. 

Within her narrow cell oppressed with dread, 
Bare of adornment and with grief-bowed head 
Lamenting, many a tear her sad eyes shed. 
She weeps with anguish in the gloomy night. 

For tears my burden seem to lighten best, 
Could I but weep my heart's blood, I might rest. 
My spirit bows with mighty grief oppressed, 
i utter forth my prater within the night. 

Youth's charm has like a fleeting shadow gone. 
With eagle wings the hours of life have flown. 
Alas ! the time when pleasure I have known, 
I may not now recall by day or night. 

The haughty scorn pursues me of my foe, 
Evil his thought, yet soft his speech and low. 
Forget it not, but bear his purpose so 
Forever in thy mind by day and night. 


Observe a pious fast, be whole again, 
Hasten to purge tliy heart of every stain. 
No more from prayer and penitence refrain, 
But turn unto thy God by day and night. 

He speaks : " My son, yea, I will send thee aid. 
Bend thou thy steps to me, be not. afraid. 
No nearer friend than I am, hast thou made, 
Possess thy soul in patience one more night." 


My thoughts impelled me to the resting-place 
Where sleep my parents, many a friend and brother. 
I asked them (no one heard and none replied): 
" Do ye forsake me, too, oh father, mother .' " 
Then from tlie grave, without a tongue, these cried, 
And showed my own place waiting by their side 


The long-closed door, oh open it again, send me back 

once more my fawn that had fled. 
Un the day of our reunion, thou shalt rest by my side, 

there wilt thou shed over me the streams of thy 

delicious perfume. 
Oh beautiful bride, what is the form of thy friend, that 

thou say to me. Release him, send him away.? 
He is the beautiful-eyed one of ruddy glorious aspect — 

that is my friend, him do thou detain. 


Hail to thee, Son of my friend, the ruddy, the bright 

colored one ! Hail to thee whose temples are like 

a pomegranate. 
Hasten to the refuge of thy sister, and protect the son 

of Isaiah against the troops of the Ammonites. 
What art thou, O Beauty, that thou shouldst inspire 

love ? that thy voice should ring like the^yoice's of 

the bells upon the priestly garments ? 
The hour wherein thou desirest my love, I shall hasten 

to meet thee. Softly will I drop beside thee like 

the dew upon Hermon. 


Songs of a Semite: 




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